Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ball Boy Controversial Grab at Yankee Game Makes 12-Year-Old a Sudden Star

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ball Boy Controversial Grab at Yankee Game Makes 12-Year-Old a Sudden Star

Article excerpt

MOVE OVER Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees: The American League Championship Series is just a sideshow. This is Jeff Maier's world.

Jeff is a 12-year-old from Old Tappan, N.J. He reached over the right-field wall and corralled Derek Jeter's controversial home run Wednesday in Game 1 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium. And now he's the talk of the town.

On Thursday, Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina said: "Let's see, he was on TV this morning, I saw him being interviewed a few minutes after it happened. He's going to be on Letterman. I'd say his 15 minutes of fame has turned into about two weeks." Before Wednesday's game ended, the Yankees had received a bevy of requests from radio and television shows to put Jeff on the air. On Thursday morning, he appeared on "Good Morning America" and "Regis and Kathy Lee." The New York Daily News gave Jeff and his family box seats behind the Yankees dugout for Thursday's Game 2, which the Orioles won 5-3. The newspaper also arranged for them to be taken to the stadium by limousine, including a stop along the way for lunch. In fact, Jeff was considering canceling an appearance on Thursday's "Late Show With David Letterman" because taping for the show was at 5 p.m., meaning he would have to miss some of the game. The New York Post asked him to write a column. "It's been unbelievable," said Jeff, a center fielder for his little-league team. "I'm just glad to be at the game." As Jeff spoke, he was swarmed over by cameras and at least 30 reporters. Meanwhile, fans were throwing programs and baseballs to him to be autographed. Jeff missed a half-day of school to be at the game Wednesday and wasn't in school Thursday. His father, Dick Maier, was asked why his son missed school Thursday. "This is more important," Dick Maier replied with a smile. "It's a holiday." The Yankees officially have distanced themselves from the incident. "The Yankees have nothing to do with the young man," said Rick Cerrone, director of media relations. "I made it very clear to him that, in our view, even though the umpire didn't rule that, he likely interfered with the ball in play, and obviously there was nothing the Yankees should or could do to reward or condone that type of behavior. …

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