What is the one common thing everyone wants to do at a baseball game? Why it’s catching a baseball, of course! You see people carrying gloves all the time whenever you go to a ballpark. While getting the ball may seem like the hardest part, you also have to realize when it’s an appropriate time to go after a ball. If you don’t plan, you may end up getting kicked out for fan interference. While there have been many cases of fan interference, there is one fan back in 1996 who helped the New York Yankees due to fan interference. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the story of the Jeffrey Maier play.
The Yankees and Orioles Battle in Game 1
The New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles were both looking to get back the World Series. The staters for Game 1 featured a matchup between Andy Pettitte for the Yankees and Scott Erickson for the Orioles. The Yankees would strike 1st in the 1st inning thanks to a Tim Raines double, which led to him scoring on a Bernie Williams groundout. The Orioles would tie the game in the 2nd inning with the same scenario, but with Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray.
The Yankees grabbed the lead back in the 2nd inning, but the Orioles knew they had to fight harder. Homeruns by Brady Anderson and Rafael Palmeiro and a sac fly by B.J. Surhoff gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead. Despite another Yankees run, the Yankees needed to tie the game, as the game headed to the 8th inning. When Derek Jeter stepped up to the plate, Jeter and a 12-year old boy were about to have one of the most significant moments in their lives.
Maier’s Legendary Moment and the end of Game 1
On the first pitch from Armando Benitez, Jeter smacked it to right field. Tony Tarasco went back to the wall, seeming to think the ball will go into his glove. But then a 12-year old boy by the name of Jeffrey Maier reached his arm out over and caught the ball. When Tarasco saw Maier stick out his arm, he began to argue fan interference with umpire Rich Garcia. But Garcia said he did not see the fan at all, calling it a home run. Orioles manager Davey Johnson came out to also talk to Garcia about the fan, but it proved to be no use as the call of a home run was kept.
With the replay shown on television, it seemed very clear that Maier’s hand did reach out all the way to catch the ball. It also proved that Tarasco could’ve easily caught the ball in his glove. No matter what the TV showed, it tied the ballgame at 4. With no runs scored in the 9th, the game went to extra innings. On the first at-bat of the 11th inning for the Yankees, Bernie Willams won the game with a walk-off homerun. The Yankees beat the Orioles in 5 games en route to their first World Series title in 19 years. As for Maier, here’s a little summary of what happened after the game.
Maier’s Media Coverage
After the game was over, Jeffrey Maier was all over news headlines in newspapers, as well as different news broadcasts. Here are a few examples of some high news coverages, and I’ll put links in the article so you can check them out. The morning after Game 1, the story got featured on the Today Show. Reporter Jim Gray of NBC Sports had a chance to interview him about what he did. :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myEjnAgnyUQ
Another one was local NYC radio show Mike and the Mad Dog did a show right after the game was over. :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRlJWcyDIw8
As you can see by the links, this story was a massive deal, as it changed Maier’s life. As more time passes, he will remember this moment forever.
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