A New York Mets fan pleaded NOT guilty today 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 one-thousand-dollar bail and is due back in court on May first.
Authorities say the 40-year-old Martinez flashed the light at the players in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday from his seat behind home plate. He quickly was ejected from the game.
The Braves were leading the Mets 7-to-nothing 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 five-thousand-dollar fine.
The Braves won Friday's game 7-to-3.