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Baltimore Fans Send Message North: No Kids on Your Side Here

October 12, 1996

BALTIMORE (AP) _ No 12-year-olds on your side here.

That was the message Baltimore baseball fans sent north Friday as their Orioles returned to Camden Yards for the third game of the American League Championship Series.

``The Os win by talent, not by a 12-year-old,″ read the sign Renee Demski, of White Marsh, was holding as she huddled with her family, waiting to see the first American League Championship Series game to come to town in 13 years.

Two nights after a deep flyball was pulled into the right field seats by 12-year-old fan Jeffrey Maier and called a Yankee home run, Orioles fans weren’t willing to forget.

The Orioles, who came back with a 5-3 win in Game Two, protested the outcome of Game One, which the Yankees won after the controversial call tied the game and sent it into extra innings. The American League officially denied the Orioles’ protest late Friday as expected and all that was left was for fans to take out their frustrations as best they could.

They jumped to their feet and roared when the Orioles were introduced, and again when Todd Zeile hit a two-run homer in the first inning.

They booed as the Yankees were introduced, just as they booed when umpire Rich Garcia, who made Wednesday’s controversial call, was introduced with the rest of the crew.

The fans booed again whenever a Yankee hit the ball and whenever a New York player found himself with two strikes against him they rose to their feet and sent up a raucous cheer, just as the fans in the Bronx had.

You did it to us in the Bronx and now we’re going to do it to you here, seemed to be their collective message.

The fans also wore their frustration and held it high.

``Spank the Yanks, the ump and the kid,″ read the t-shirts Michael Golliday, of Middle River, was selling with his sister outside the park before police ordered them to stop because they didn’t have the proper license.

``No Bronx cheating here,″ read the sign Mark Marsiglia, of Glen Burnie, held.

``How would you like to be the Yankees now?″ Heather Sachs, of Joppa, asked another Orioles fan. ``Now, nobody thinks they can win without a 12-year-old.″

Of course, Yankees fans in attendance had a different take on the controversy.

``They wouldn’t be crying if it happened here,″ said Sally Yale, a New York fan from Hazleton, Pa.

And some enterprising vendors seemed to take Yale at her word, doing their best to arm Orioles fans with something to return the favor.

Paul Barbetta, of Laurel, and two of his co-workers sold ``Mitts on a Stick″ amidst the hot dog and memorabilia vendors outside the park before the game.

Barbetta’s sales pitch?

``Be the 10th man and steal one from the Yankees.″

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