The wurst sort of brat

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The incident remains humorous a week later, unless, of course, you were the Italian sausage, the hot dog or the man with the baseball bat.

It left sort of a bad taste for those three, although the victims didn’t get too burned up about it all.

There are those who believe that Randall Simon of the Pittsburgh Pirates behaved like the wurst sort of brat when he stuck his bat over the railing as the customary sausage race passed by the Pirates’ dugout between the sixth and seventh innings of a game with the Milwaukee Brewers last week.

The race around the infield warning track involved four people in costumes, depicting, in addition to the sausage and hot dog, a bratwurst and a Polish sausage.

Mandy Block was inside the Italian sausage as she passed close to Simon, and, mama mia, he struck her with the bat. She fell and took the hot dog with her onto the dirt, the hot dog falling across the sausage, a double-decker so to speak.

As one wag remarked, the way Simon has been hitting the ball at the plate, it was surprising he was able to hit the sausage.

After Simon, a first baseman for the Pirates, made contact with the sausage, naturally it was time for a grilling, to determine whether there was food for punishment.

After the prescribed time of simmering, the player received a nominal fine plus suspension for three games, a move designed to keep him away from the railing, for one thing.

Simon said he did not intend to cook up such a stew; that he didn’t deliberately try to tenderize the sausage. He said he only wanted to tap the costume to encourage Ms. Sausage in her race.

Ms. Block said it wasn’t that bad, that she tumbled because the costume was so big.

The battered victims said they didn’t care to have Simon charged with battery, and a prosecutor pulled that idea out of his jurisprudence oven. Before then, however, authorities led Simon away in handcuffs, which make it just about impossible to swing a bat at anything.

Simon tried to soften the blow by giving autographed bats to the two women, saying it was all in fun and that he had never hurt anyone.

Which begs the question: Is a sausage &uot;anyone&uot; or merely a caricature?

And, has Simon now become a vegetarian?

(Hoyt Harwell is a retired Associated Press Correspondent who covered major sports in Alabama for 26 years. Harwell lives in Hoover. E-mail: