Mets Fan Pleads Not Guilty To Trying To Distract Atlanta Players

Sunday, April 22nd 2007, 2:31 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ A New York Mets fan pleaded not guilty Sunday to shining a high-powered flashlight at an Atlanta Braves pitcher and shortstop during a game at Shea Stadium.

Frank Martinez was arraigned in Queens criminal court on charges of interfering with a professional sporting event and second-degree reckless endangerment. He was held on a $1,000 bail and is due back in court on May 1st.

Authorities say the 40-year-old Martinez flashed the light at the players in the bottom of the 8th inning Friday from his seat behind home plate. He quickly was ejected from the game.

The Braves were leading the Mets 7-0 at the time of the incident. 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 called time out and alerted security. The security officers removed Martinez and found a ``a small, streamline flashlight'' in his backpack.

Martinez is being represented by the Legal Aid Society. Legal Aid spokeswoman Pat Bath said his attorney did not want to comment.

If convicted, Martinez faces up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

The Braves won Friday's game 7-3.