An announcer fired by a minor league baseball team for making a joke about New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey's sexual orientation was rehired yesterday at the governor's urging.

Greg Maiuro lost his job with the Atlantic City Surf after dedicating the 1970s song "YMCA" to McGreevey during a game Aug. 17. The Village People hit is widely considered a gay anthem.

McGreevey -- who announced this month that he is gay, had an affair with a man and plans to resign Nov. 15 -- urged the team to accept an apology and reinstate Maiuro "so we can move beyond this incident and get back to enjoying America's favorite pastime."

"I thank the owners of the Atlantic City Surf for their sensitivity and appreciate their desire to separate politics from baseball," the governor said in a statement.

Frank Boulton, the team's principal owner, agreed to the governor's request, saying, "I am a firm believer in second chances."

Maiuro did not immediately return a call for comment. The Surf said he wrote the team a letter "acknowledging his remarks were inappropriate" and asking for his job back.

The team said it also offered to take back a scoreboard operator who resigned over a related stunt. Marco Cerino posted the message "Sponsored by Gov. Jim McGreevey" during the playing of "YMCA."

The team said Cerino, who is returning to college soon, was considering the offer.

The Surf plays in the independent Atlantic League, and its regular season runs through Sept. 19.

-- From News Services