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A San Francisco man who gloved Barry Bonds’ 73rd home run ball but came up empty-handed in a cheap-seats scramble has sued the man who walked away with the ball. Nobody disputes that Alex Popov of San Francisco got his glove on the ball Bonds launched to Cooperstown via the standing room-only section of the right-field seats at San Francisco’s Pacific Bell Park on Oct. 7. But a San Francisco Superior Court judge will make the call whether Patrick Hayashi “attacked, assaulted and battered” Popov to take the ball from his grasp. “My client caught the ball,” asserted Martin F. Triano of the Law Offices of Martin F. Triano in San Francisco. “This is all about assault and battery, about my client fighting off a mob of people mugging him for a piece of history.” Popov v. Hayashi and Does 1-25 , No. 409545 (San Francisco Super. Ct.) Triano claims a videotape of the catch, which has been replayed countless times on San Francisco Bay Area television stations, shows his client catching the ball cleanly and then being assaulted. Defense attorney Donald K. Tamaki of Minami, Lew & Tamaki of San Francisco, who represents Hayashi, sees the tape differently. “The videotape shows everybody falling into a heap but there is no fighting,” he said. “They are laying on each other and Patrick Hayashi is on the bottom of that pile.” Popov’s complaint contends that Bonds’ home run was hit “directly to Popov.” The suit alleges Hayashi and up to 15 other unnamed persons “attacked” Popov, who claims he held the ball “firmly and securely in his grasp” during the assault. Tamaki argued Popov held the ball unsteadily in a “Sno-cone” position and simply lost it when the crowd converged on him. The ball undoubtedly is worth a fortune, though how large a fortune is a matter of speculation. A private collector paid $3 million three years ago for Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball. Superior Court Judge David Garcia has ordered Hayashi not to sell or otherwise transfer possession of the ball pending a hearing Nov. 13.

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