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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'I Hope Baltimore Isn't Mad'

NEW YORK -- He is a pitcher and centerfielder on his Little League team in Old Tappan, New Jersey, and he said, "I've made some good catches but never one like that.''


How do you figure?


They doubled the security at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, partly to prevent any incidents involving Roberto Alomar, and this innocent-looking kid in the right-field bleachers finds a way to beat the security and beat the Baltimore Orioles.


"I hope Baltimore isn't mad at me,'' Jeffrey Maier said.


"I don't think they should be mad. I'm just a 12-year-old kid going for the ball.''


Armed with his black glove and attending the opener of the American League championship series, young Jeffrey went for it and got it, reaching over the right-field fence to glove Derek Jeter's high fly as Tony Tarasco, his back to the fence, reached up in anticipation of making it.


New York won on a legitimate home run by Bernie Williams, long after reporters had descended on the bleachers to interview Maier and fans there had hoisted the youngster on their shoulders while others shouted, "Put him down, we need the kid to make another catch.''


How strange.


Here was a crowd of 56,495 spitting an obscene chant at Alomar every time he came to bat.


Here were zoo zealots pegging a batting helmet, batteries, coins, an empty Coke bottle and other dangerous objects at Alomar and his teammates during the eighth-inning argument with Garcia.


And here they were toasting one of their own for interfering with the game.


"I saw the interviews and the kid being treated like a hero,'' ejected and dejected Oriole Manager Davey Johnson said. "That didn't make me feel good either.''


Jeffrey Maier was giddy by contrast


"Wow,'' he said. "This is unbelievable. I never thought anything like this would happen to me.''


Terrific. Maybe he can do it again if he has an opportunity.


Actually, he wouldn't have had this one, but the youngster who was going to attend Game 1 on that ticket couldn't go when rain forced rescheduling.


So here he was, in the bright lights of television cameras, saying one minute, "I didn't reach over, the ball just dropped in my glove,'' but then contradicting that, saying maybe he did reach out for it.


"[Stuff] is always happening in New York,'' said Bobby Bonilla, who had been the right fielder before bruising his shoulder crashing into the fence an inning earlier.


Maier was the happening on a night Alomar was expected to be -- and still was, to an extent.


"The New York fans are good fans,'' Alomar said. "They make a lot of noise and support their team. I don't care what they yell at me or how loud they boo me, but I don't think they should be throwing things at me or my teammates.''