It’s funny. As soon as we learned that the Orioles would be playing the Yankees in the ALDS and that they’d be going to the Bronx, I knew I wanted to give Jeff Maier a call.
It really had nothing to do with an “anniversary” of the day Maier, then 12, helped a fly ball turn into a game-tying home run in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS.
What people don’t realize is that this week is the only other time in the history of the franchises that the Orioles have played the Yankees in the postseason. That’s because the Orioles haven’t been good enough during the Wild Card era and only one team went to the playoffs from a division prior to that.
So this game today will mark the first time since the Maier series that the two have met in New York in a postseason. And I thought that was worthy of dusting off Maier’s number.
Some of you did too; I received a lot of positive feedback. Also received some not-so positive comments, basically telling me that I should never write his name again (I think I’ve interviewed Jeff three times in 10 years or so: when he was looking for a job in baseball, when MLB added instant replay and now. So that’s not overkill to me).
The disappointing thing for Orioles fans is that this kid is about as nice and grounded as they come. It’s always nice to catch up with him – and that’s coming from a Baltimore guy.
Anyway, one other thing on the Maier event that most people don’t realize. He didn’t catch the ball that day. It came out of his glove, hit the ground and someone else pounced on it. He thinks the guy was from Connecticut. So he has no idea of the ball’s whereabouts.