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Boos Pelt Alomar; Batteries Not Included

October 10, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ Yankees fans expressed their opinion about Roberto Alomar’s spit by showing a little polish.

They simply booed.

They booed and heckled him during batting practice. They booed heartily during the pregame introductions _ and even louder during his first at-bat.

And those boos turned to thunderous cheers when he struck out looking in the first inning.

He gently laid down his helmet and bat, then teammate Bobby Bonilla brought his glove out to him as he took the field for the bottom of the first.

In the second inning, the crowd cheered derisively when Paul O’Neill’s grounder kicked off the heel of Alomar’s glove for an error. However, on the very next play, Alomar made a fine backhand flip to second on Mariano Duncan’s grounder.

But despite concerns about violence _ in the form of hurled batteries, or other projectiles _ nothing flew through the air except a few expletives and unprintable chants until a controversial home run call in the eighth inning. And Alomar wasn’t involved in that incident.

Some fans threw toilet paper and cups onto the field after a 12-year-old fan reached down over the right-field wall and grabbed a fly ball that was about to be caught by Tony Tarasco. The hit by Derek Jeter was ruled a home run, although television replays showed the ball wouldn’t have reached the stands without the fan’s help.

The homer tied the game 4-4, and the Yankees went on to win on Bernie Williams’ homer in the 11th. Alomar went 1-for-6 and struck out three times. He was the final out in four innings, including the 11th.

Outside the stadium’s bleacher entrance, a sign clearly warns: ``Bottles, Cans, Coolers, Hard Containers are Prohibited In Stadium.″

Just below that clear caveat, Mary Ippoliti of Schenectady, N.Y., held her own sign: ``No Spit Zone.″

``I have a grandson and I wouldn’t want him doing it,″ said the woman, who described herself as a Yankees fan ``through and through.″

As for any violent actions against the Baltimore Orioles second baseman, she said: ``I hope not.″

But when Greg Packer of suburban Long Island happened by, he overheard her and offered: ``This is the Bronx, this is New York, and people are going to do what they want to do here. I agree with her sign. But (security) people can only do so much.″

Alomar came out of the third-base dugout with about 10 camera crews _ and many more burly, suited security guards _ gathered around. He took batting practice with the first group of Orioles.

As he was talking to a teammate, one person yelled, ``Hey, Alomar, you’re a pig.″

Still, Alomar look relaxed, if not unfazed.

He was met with a smattering of boos then. In the pregame introductions, those boos were resounding.

Security was beefed up for the game _ city police and private security _ and Alomar entered the stadium through a different gate from the one used by the other players.

Police spokesman Martin Foley would not give exact numbers on the security force, saying only that an ``adequate detail″ was deployed.

In the days leading to the opening game of the American League championship series, everyone seemingly had an opinion on the matter.

WFAN radio’s Yankee beat reporter Suzyn Waldman exhorted listeners: ``I want no projectiles on the field today, guys. OK?″

And one of her callers opined, ``Fans who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw batteries.″ By that he meant that Yankee partisans supported a team with its share of tax dodgers, druggies, alcoholics and an owner who once needed a presidential pardon and is generally reviled as a publicity-obsessed megalomaniac.

In the wee hours of Wednesday, West Coast radio talk show host Dennis Prager discussed it on CBS’s ``Late, Late Show″ with Tom Snyder _ and that was after spending some three hours on the topic on his own show.

And Comedy Central’s ``Daily Show″ jumped in, exploiting the expectations about the expectorations game.