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Original Issue

Under Review

In 1961, when Sal Durante caught Roger Maris's 61st-home-run ball, the 19-year-old fan graciously presented the ball that had broken Babe Ruth's record to Maris. (Maris told him to keep it, and Durante sold it for $5,000.) Forty years later, when Barry Bonds hit his record-setting number 73, two fans went to court. Up for Grabs, a documentary that opens in San Francisco on April 15 (with a wider release in May and June), chronicles the protracted battle between Alex Popov and Patrick Hayashi, both of whom claimed to be number 73's rightful owner (SI, July 29, 2002). With deft editing and a zany cowboy-music soundtrack, director and producer Michael Wranovics captures and wryly comments on the knee-jerk attempt to convert the sphere into money and fame.... Year of the Yao also opens on April 15 (in Houston, with a wider rollout to follow), but it's not nearly as much fun. The documentary at first seems to be promising an intimate look at the engaging, 7'6" No. 1 draft pick during his rookie season (2002-03) as the camera takes us briefly into Yao's home and the Rockets' locker room. But an off-putting slickness seeps in--mostly in the form of distracting music and pointless quick cuts; by the time Yao meets Shaquille O'Neal on the court, the film is more hype than heart. --Nancy Ramsey