Sat, Jul 12, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Sausage slugger gets off with fine

AP , MILWAUKEE

Guido, the Italian sausage, right, wins in the sausage race at the Pittsburgh Pirates Milwaukee Brewers game in the seventh inning on Thursday.

PHOTO: AP

Prosecutors grilled Pirates first baseman Randall Simon, then let him off the hook for hitting one of the Brewers' sausage mascots with his bat.

Still, he was cited by the sheriff's department for disorderly conduct and fined US$432 for a swing that got more attention than any other around the majors on Wednesday.

Simon said he didn't mean to knock down the woman, who tumbled to the ground and got a few scrapes but wasn't seriously hurt during the popular costume race at Milwaukee Brewers games.

"I thought at the moment they were trying to play with us," he said on Thursday. "They were running right next to the players. I'm a fun player, and I've never hurt anyone in my life."

The 18-year-old woman, Mandy Block, was among four team employees dressed as an oversized bratwurst, a hot dog and Italian and Polish sausages racing past the Pirates' dugout between the sixth and seventh innings at Miller Park.

Simon took a half swing at the Italian sausage character, hitting her from behind. When Block fell, she knocked over the woman dressed as the hot dog.

"It just seems ridiculous -- it's like a big sausage getting hit by a bat causes all this controversy. It just seems kind of funny to me," Block told WTMJ-TV.

"It wasn't that big of a blow," she said. "I think just because I'm so small and it's such a big costume that I tumbled, and the reason I couldn't get up right away is because I couldn't get up. I wasn't like hurt so bad I couldn't get up. Luckily someone helped me up."

After the game, Simon was arrested and booked for misdemeanor battery, and told to show up at the district attorney's office the next day.

Simon and one of the women met with prosecutors, but Deputy District Attorney Jon Reddin said the two women didn't think Simon meant to hurt them and "were not interested in having him charged criminally."

Simon gave the Brewers two autographed bats for the women.

"It's a lesson," he said. "As a player, you don't want those types of things that might change your career. This might change not only me, but every other player in the big leagues. From now on, I'm going to be checking before doing those types of things."

Simon drew boos from many of the fans when he was used as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. He grounded out in the only playing time he saw. The Brewers won 2-1 in 12 innings.

Simon was not in the starting lineupon Thursday. The Pirates said they do not condone Simon's behavior and will address the issue internally.

Rick Schlesinger, Brewers executive vice president for business operations, said he was "sickened" by Simon's actions.

"This is one of the most outrageous things I've ever seen inside a ballpark or outside a ballpark," he said.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said the league was reviewing the matter.

"Obviously, the type of behavior exhibited by Mr. Simon is anathema to the family entertainment that we are trying to provide in our ballparks and is wholly unacceptable," Selig said.

The Brewers planned to continue the sausage races in their current form.

Josee Meehan of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council was pleased by all the attention.

"I think it probably raised awareness that there are all types of sausages out there. But I had no idea you could race them," Meehan said.

On Thursday, four new people were inside the costumes, and Pirates players moved into the dugout and away from the field during the race.

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