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Bonds' 73rd homerun ball: Sell ball, judge rules

Old 12-19-02, 01:04 AM
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Bonds' 73rd homerun ball: Sell ball, judge rules

Popov must be crapping in his pants by now. Hayashi offered to split the money with him earlier but he rejected it. Lawyers got the last laugh after all.

http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/12/18/ho...uit/index.html

SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- A judge's decision to have a historic home run baseball sold and the proceeds split between two fans was fair, a legal analyst said Wednesday.

Still to be determined, however, is what the split of money collected from the sale of Barry Bonds' 73rd home run ball will be between the two men, after their attorneys' fees are paid.

Earlier Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Kevin McCarthy said that Alex Popov and Patrick Hayashi must sell the ball and agree to a division of the money generated from the sale. The ball is worth an estimated $1 million.

"The way the court resolved this was correct," said Christopher Wolf, partner in the litigation and dispute resolution division of the Proskauer Rose law firm. "This decision shows how the law can be practical."

In announcing his decision, McCarthy said the two men had equal legal arguments, and cited the need to reach agreement under "equitable division" laws.

"Their legal claims are of equal quality and they are equally entitled to the ball," McCarthy ruled. "The ball must be sold and divided equally between the parties."

We are a nation governed by law, not by brute force.
-- Judge Kevin McCarthy

At issue before the judge was who owned a home run ball hit out of Pacific Bell Park last year by San Francisco Giants superstar Barry Bonds. On October 7, 2001, Bonds hit his 73rd home run of the season, a Major League record.

The events along the walkway behind right field of Pacific Bell Park were the subject of Popov's civil suit against Hayashi.

As the home run ball cleared the park's right field and dropped into the walkway, a mad dash by various spectators ensued. Popov claimed he first caught the ball, but during the crush of fans fighting for the ball, it dropped out of his baseball mitt. Hayashi eventually gained control of the ball and claimed he rightfully owned it.

The ball has remained locked both in la safe-deposit box.

After a number of settlement talks failed between the two men, Popov filed his suit against Hayashi. Testimony began this past October.


Patrick Hayashi, center, holds on to the record-setting home run ball while being escorted by security October 7, 2001, in San Francisco.



During the trial, McCarthy's questioning focused on the legal definition of ownership -- how long a person must hold something to be considered an owner.

Popov contended he held the ball longer than a split second before it was taken from his glove. Hayashi said Popov dropped it before hitting the pavement.

During closing arguments McCarthy described a "gray area" between securely catching the ball and never touching it. Hayashi's lawyers insisted the case was a simple question of property law.

McCarthy deliberated for a month after hearing closing arguments in late November.

The judge made a point of saying that if he awarded the ball solely to Hayashi, it could send the wrong message to fans about civility in the stands.

"This case demands vindication of an important principle," he said. "We are a nation governed by law, not by brute force."

But even though the judge acknowledged Popov had been "set upon by a gang of bandits who dislodged the ball," McCarthy said, Popov never demonstrated full possession and could not be awarded sole ownership

Popov and Hayashi both had legitimate claims to the ball, said Wolf, who likened the case to figuring the division of money from a jackpot lottery.

"There's no hard and fast rule in these cases," Wolf said. "People do rush into litigation too quickly, generally speaking, but in this case, it was right that it went to the courts, and the court made the right decision."
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Old 12-19-02, 01:18 AM
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So it took them this long to figure out that the two should split the cash? Man people can be pretty dumb sometimes.

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Old 12-19-02, 01:36 AM
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Split it equally? Judge McCarthy? [Strokes goatee] hmmmmm ...

Seriously, though, sounds fair to me. Neither of them had a particularly solid case. It's not like either of them did anything substantial to warrant possession in the first place other than stand in that general area and push people out of the way.

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Old 12-19-02, 01:39 AM
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I like the judge's decision. Popov is a dumbass now for not splitting the cash from the beginning.
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Old 12-19-02, 08:57 AM
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I'm surprised that the judge did not say split the ball in two. What a cop-out.
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Old 12-19-02, 09:46 AM
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A baseball = currency. Rediculous.

Sports memerobilia is the silliest thing going right now.
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Old 12-19-02, 12:56 PM
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The judge should have ordered the ball cut in half with one side going to each man. And then when one of them complains and the other doesn't the Judge would know who the balls real father is.

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Old 12-19-02, 01:00 PM
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Isn't Popov from the resturant chain with the same name?
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Old 12-19-02, 07:29 PM
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The judge in the case agreed that Popov didn't have full possession. So why should he get anything? This is baseball, so they should have applied baseball rules.

In baseball, if a fielder drops the ball (or if another fielder knocks the ball from his glove) before he has full possession, he does not get credit for the out. So in this case, Popov should get no credit for touching the baseball first.

The only reason the judge gave Popov anything was because "it could send the wrong message to fans about civility in the stands."
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Old 12-20-02, 04:22 AM
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Re: Bonds' 73rd homerun ball: Sell ball, judge rules

Originally posted by mysterX
But even though the judge acknowledged Popov had been "set upon by a gang of bandits who dislodged the ball," McCarthy said, Popov never demonstrated full possession and could not be awarded sole ownership
Dislodge v.-To remove or force out from a position

So it was removed or forced out by "bandits" but he didn't have possession?

If the judge really meant what he said he should have ruled for Popov IMO. I think he just didn't want to shaft one or the other out of a potentially life changing sum of money.

Last edited by AJP; 12-20-02 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 12-20-02, 05:04 AM
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Originally posted by namja
The only reason the judge gave Popov anything was because "it could send the wrong message to fans about civility in the stands."
Popov practically got jumped by a bunch of guys. I certainly wouldn't want to have my family get trampled by a human wave if a potentially valuable ball comes our way the next time we go to the ballpark. I think it's important to discourage people from getting too rough in these situations even if million dollar baseballs don't come along too often.

Last edited by AJP; 12-20-02 at 05:06 AM.
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Old 12-20-02, 04:07 PM
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I think Popov wants to appeal the decision though (heard somewhere on the radio). Here we go again........
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Old 12-20-02, 04:30 PM
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well hell..
Im going to stop carrying a glove to the park.. and start carrying a bat

let some other schmuck catch the ball.. then Ill just bash him and take it..
obviously that seems fair
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Old 12-20-02, 04:33 PM
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If only hotter heads had prevailed.
"Ladies and gentlemen, be seated, for I am the law and you'd better believe it! (He flashes a glimpse of the gun beneath his robe, looking every bit like a present-day Judge Dredd.) I don't want to hear one sound from any of you from this moment to the time I get in my car. I'm too old to care any more.

"Now, in all my years on the bench, I have been confronted by all manner of crimes and punishments, plaintiffs and defendants, and I can't begin to tell you the wide range of lawyering I've seen -- from Darrow-esque to learning-impaired chimpanzee.

"But this case beats them all, and by a good light year. The plaintiff asserts a right to a ball he did not legally possess at any moment. The defendant asserts a right to the ball he only got because 20 drunken yobbos pounded the plaintiff semi-stupid.

"So in ruling as I must, I have been given absolutely no rooting interest whatsoever. It is all I can do each morning to choke down the bile rising in my neck just to consider your wretched, hungry faces.

"Now I have taken more than a month to find a precedent that covers this situation, from Hammurabi to Monty Python's determination of the winner of the Summarize Proust Competition. I have read law books, I have scanned law books, I have even thrown them at my cat while shrieking profanities in every part of speech, and the only conclusion I can reach is this:

"I'm keeping the damned ball. Me. No complaining. No appeals. I get it, and shut up with that objection, laughing boy. I'm doing the talking. Interrupt again, and I'll punch enough slugs in you to make a saxophone.

"Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant have exhibited sufficient sympathy to keep from being thrown in front of a cab, let alone be awarded a million-dollar baseball.

"Their lawyers have tied up valuable court time calling witnesses and arguing motions so monstrously stupid that my court reporter once tried to pull off her own head just to make the noise stop. Martha, I hope you're feeling better, and that turtleneck suits you.

"The Hall of Fame has enough crap as it is, and Mr. Bonds, who had the good sense never to attend our little nightmare, has more money than Jesus' accountant.

"So that essentially leaves me. I'm the one whose name was drawn out of the Hat Of Hell to get this case. I'm the one who had to look at your gray, sorry, saggy, pustulate faces day after day. I'm the one who had to hear your impassioned pleas and relentless begging for a baseball you should all be struck with by Randy Johnson rather than possess. I'm the one who had to listen to Rich Garcia, the umpire, try to apply the rules of baseball to a concrete concourse 30 feet above the field.

"I'm the one who's watched fascinating trials with great legal issues argued by skilled practitioners go on to other judges while I sit here day after soul-eating day listening to your petty bickering about who-kicked-who-in-the-groin and who-just-happened-to-be-walking-by-with-a-bag-ofand-a-song-in-my-heart-when-the-ball-rolled-to-my-feet-like-a-puppy, to the point where I feel like vomiting up Detroit.

"I'm the one who's been throwing down Advils like they were Pez for three freaking months, and my stomach still feels like two wolverines having a custody fight in my lower intestines.

"And you're the ones who have done this to me. You are lucky I am not allowed to throw you into a cell with a chess set with 27 missing pieces, and the collected works of Trent Lott.

"YOU ARE VIRULENT, HEARTLESS, GRUESOME BEINGS FROM THE NINTH CIRCLE OF HELL ITSELF!

...

Last edited by RoyalTea; 12-20-02 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 12-20-02, 05:21 PM
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Was there ever video of this incident?
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Old 12-20-02, 05:26 PM
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Originally posted by MJKTool
Was there ever video of this incident?
yep
and it was reviewed repeatedly, and still noone decided conclusively

the ball obviously goes into popov's glove.. no doubt about that..
the debate is whether it was a clean catch.. whether it was ripped out in the riot or if it popped out on its own
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Old 12-21-02, 12:53 AM
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Originally posted by twikoff
yep
and it was reviewed repeatedly, and still noone decided conclusively

the ball obviously goes into popov's glove.. no doubt about that..
the debate is whether it was a clean catch.. whether it was ripped out in the riot or if it popped out on its own
Yup. More questions than answers. Did he ever had control? He claimed that he was mobbed after the catch, but how can it be a catch if you never have control? Popov needs to know that fans around him are also entitled to the ball.
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Old 12-21-02, 01:59 AM
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That's freaking ridiculous. Ive heard nothing about this, but...

If you drop a ball or get the ball stolen, such is life.
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