By Drew Olson
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
ILWAUKEE - The nightly sausage race, a popular featureat Milwaukee Brewers home games, took a bizarre, uglyturn Wednesday night at Miller Park that led tosheriff’s deputies taking Pittsburgh Pirates firstbaseman Randall Simon from the park in handcuffs.
A 19-year-old member of the
Super Team,'' theBrewers' on-field promotional group, was racing past thevisitors' dugout wearing the giant Italian sausagecostume when she was hit from behind by a bat Simonswung as he stood on the dugout's top step. The female employee, who was identified by a clubofficial only as Mandy, crumpled to the warning track infront of the dugout and another racer, a 21-year-oldwoman identified by a club official as Veronica, trippedover her and fell to the ground as well. After several seconds, Veronica helped Mandy to herfeet and the two finished the race and exited the field.Both were treated for injuries in the first aid area atthe stadium, where they were interviewed by MilwaukeeCounty sheriff's deputies and officials from MajorLeague Baseball's security department. The incident, which occurred before a crowd of 22,490,was captured by TV cameras and replayed several times. This is one of the most outrageous things I’ve everseen inside a ballpark or outside a ballpark,’’ saidRick Schlesinger, Brewers executive vice president ofbusiness operations.
``It sickened me to see it.’’
Schlesinger did not divulge the women’s names or theextent of their injuries, citing confidentiality laws.He did say that Simon was interrogated by sheriff’sdeputies at the ballpark.
Asked whether the club or the victims would presscharges, Schlesinger said: ``It’s in the hands of theSheriff’s Department right now. We’ll let that run itscourse.’’
Shortly after the game, a pair of club employees sawdeputies escort Simon, who was in handcuffs, from thepark.
Sheriff’s department Deputy Inspector Sherry Warichaksaid Simon was expected to be booked and released lateWednesday, and probably would be ordered to appear inthe Milwaukee County district attorney’s office thismorning.
Injuries appeared minor
The injured characters suffered scraped knees and weretreated by the stadium’s first aid staff but did notrequire hospitalization, Warichak said.
At this point I don't think there were any otherinjuries, but that remains to be seen,'' Warichak said. Schlesinger said he spoke to Larry Silverman, the vicepresident and legal counsel for the Pirates, after theincident. I do not view this as a reflection on the Piratesorganization,’’
This is an insane act by a personwhose conduct is unjustified.'' Super Team member Ryan Borghoff, 16, raced wearing thebratwurst costume. The whole thing is unbelievable,’’ said Borghoff,who recently finished his sophomore year at WaukeshaWest High School.
I didn't really know what happened. We were doing .. . a race where one person takes the lead and thenanother person passes him. It was my turn to lead, so Iran out front. I didn't really know what was going on.All of a sudden, I was by myself. He didn’t hit her on the head,’’ Borghoff said,referring to Mandy.
He just hit the costume and shefell over. These things are so top-heavy that it doesn'ttake much.'' Borghoff went on to win the race. Somebody had to, Iguess,’’ he said.
Lives in Caribbean
Simon, 28, was born and still lives in Curacao, anisland located in the southwestern Caribbean, north ofVenezuela.
A first baseman with a reputation as a free-swinginghitter, Simon has appeared in 67 of Pittsburgh’s 86games this season and is batting .272 with seven homersand 40 runs batted in. He is making $1.475 million thisseason.
After the game, Pirates players and coaches watched avideotape of the incident in the visitors’ clubhouse.
It's very strange. Live and learn - unfortunately,that's what life is all about,'' said Pirates outfielderReggie Sanders. It was an unfortunate situation.’’
Pirates spokesman Dan Hart said, ``At this point intime, other than to say it’s in the hands of theauthorities, we have no comment.’’
The sausage race occurs after the sixth inning, andSimon wasn’t playing at the time. When he pinch-hit inthe top of the seventh, Simon was roundly booed by thecrowd. He grounded out in what turned into a 2-1 Brewersvictory in 12 innings.
The costumed mascots, usually members of the SuperTeam pep squad or the Brewers’ grounds crew, race alongthe infield warning track, from the left-field corner tothe area beyond the home dugout on the first-base side.
The incident took place on the one-year anniversary ofthe 73rd All-Star Game at Miller Park, which finished ina controversial tie. -