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City police prepared to win numbers game Beefed-up patrols confident of keeping peace despite rowdy N.Y. visitors

More cops. More Yankees fans. More drinking.

That's how Baltimore police saw this weekend showdown, as the "Rumble in the Bronx" headed south to Charm City.

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And that means more. More police officers to protect the public. More security outside the stadium to guard the cars. More rowdy fans. Thousands -- 16,000 to be exact -- invading from New York alone.

"They tend to be a little bit more verbose," said police Lt. Donald Healy, trying to find a polite way to describe bellowing Yankees fans, known to steal caps from fans not wearing pinstripes.

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But Healy finally offered up a more honest opinion. "A lot of them drink to excess," he said. "That's potentially a bad situation."

But for the most part, security officials were optimistic. They wouldn't say how many more officers were on hand at Camden Yards, but they assured potential lawbreakers that their presence will be noticed.

In addition to a beefed-up contingent of city officers, state troopers and officers from Anne Arundel and Howard counties were on hand. State officials planned to crack down on illegal vendors outside the park. And more police patroled surrounding neighborhoods.

Officials said they didn't expect problems, even in the aftermath of the Roberto Alomar spitting incident and the 12-year-old New York fan reaching over a fence to create a game-tying home run on Wednesday. Both controversial incidents enraged fans.

Healy said ushers are responsible for keeping fans from retaliating and reaching onto the playing field. A routine announcement warns that people interfering with a ball in play could be ejected or arrested, and police said they will let the stadium officials make the call. "We try to give fans the benefit of the doubt," he said.

"There's always that concern every game," said Jim Slusser, director of security for the Maryland Stadium Authority. "The Baltimore fan is a much better fan than at some other ballparks."

Healy said that "what happened up in New York is just something a 12-year-old would do up here or down there."

But city police spokesman Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr. was a little tougher.

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"If a Baltimore officer was in the right-field stands and saw a ball coming toward a 12-year-old Yankees fan," he said, "we would have been quick enough to go down and arrest him for truancy [for being at a day game] before he could have gotten a glove on the ball."

Baltimore police have met rowdy New York fans before. Last year, a drunk Long Islander pummeled the Oriole Bird and was promptly arrested. There will be no more of that.

"Anyone who punches the Bird is going to central booking," Healy said. But even the cops like to have a good time. Healy's phone has been ringing off the hook from officers who want to work the game. "They want to be a part of it," said Healy.

Pub Date: 10/12/96


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