Officials say fan tried to blind Braves players at Shea

4/21/2007 - MLB New York Mets Atlanta Braves + more

NEW YORK -- A 40-year-old man arrested at Shea Stadium on
Friday night is accused of trying to distract an Atlanta Braves
pitcher and shortstop with a high-powered flashlight.

Frank Martinez was charged with interference with a professional
sporting event and second-degree reckless endangerment, Queens
District Attorney Richard Brown said Saturday.

Authorities said Martinez flashed the powerful light at the
players in the bottom of the eighth inning from his seat behind
home plate. He was quickly ejected from the game.

"The defendant's alleged actions recklessly endangered the
lives of players and spectators and caused a temporary delay to the
game," Brown said.

The hullabaloo began at about 10:15 p.m. as the Braves were
leading the Mets 7-0. Tim Hudson was on the mound facing Mets
pinch-hitter Endy Chavez when, investigators said, Martinez turned
the beam on the Braves pitcher and shortstop Edgar Renteria.

Renteria complained to umpire Paul Emmel, who then called time
out and alerted security. The security officers removed Martinez
and found a "a small, streamline flashlight" in his backpack,
Brown said.

"You endanger some of the players out there. Somebody could get
blinded. The ball's in play and the light's in their eyes, it's
dangerous," Hudson said Saturday after Atlanta's 7-2 loss to the

Martinez was still jailed Saturday, and unavailable for comment.
He was scheduled to remain behind bars until at least the evening,
when he had an arraignment scheduled in Queens Criminal Court.
Queens prosecutors said Martinez did not have a lawyer yet. If
convicted, he faces up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

A law making it expressly illegal to interfere with a
professional sporting event was passed by the city in 2003
following a disruptive incident involving fashion designer Calvin

Klein stepped onto the basketball court at Madison Square Garden
in March 2003 to speak with player Latrell Sprewell while a Knicks
game was in progress.

The Braves won Friday's game 7-3.