Seeing fan tackled took pressure off Maier

Seeing fan tackled took pressure off Maier

Seeing fan tackled took pressure off Maier
BOSTON -- Outfielder Mitch Maier, pressed into emergency duty as a pitcher in the Royals' 13-9 loss on Tuesday night, had a surreal few minutes before he threw a pitch.

As he came out of the right-field bullpen, a fan jumped out the stands and veered near him.

"A fan getting tackled. It was awesome," Maier said. "I think it actually relieved a lot of the pressure, because it was a big distraction. I see this guy run onto the field and get body-slammed by a security guard."

At the same time, the sellout crowd at Fenway Park was bellowing out the traditional eighth-inning rendition of "Sweet Caroline." So Maier had raucous musical accompaniment.

Then, to top things off, home-plate umpire Chris Conroy came out to remind him that both benches had been issued warnings against throwing at batters, so if Maier happened to plunk somebody, both he and his manager might be ejected.

Given all that, Maier still managed to throw strikes and retired three of the four batters he faced, making him the only Royals pitcher who didn't give up a run.

"He did just what I wanted him to do," manager Ned Yost said. "He didn't get crazy. ... He's smart enough to not do something stupid, try to throw 100 miles an hour and perpetuate the agony. Just throw the ball."