'Sausage' Hit by Player Getting His Bat

Friday, July 11th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Mandy Block says she'll accept an apology from Pittsburgh first baseman Randall Simon. But all she really wants is the bat he used to hit her as she ran past the Pirates' dugout dressed as an Italian sausage.

With one swing of that bat Wednesday night, Simon sent the 19-year-old woman tumbling to the ground in her heavy costume. A fellow sausage racer also fell.

Simon, cited for disorderly conduct and fined $432, issued a public apology before leaving town after the Pirates' 5-4 victory over the Brewers on Thursday. Block said a team representative told her Simon would call her Friday to apologize.

``One of the public relations ladies called me and she talked to me and she was really nice and offered a lot and said, 'Anytime you're in Pittsburgh ... the best seat in the house is yours,''' Block said at her South Milwaukee home Thursday night.

``But all I wanted was the bat.''

She and the other racer, Veronica Piech, had the day off Thursday from their jobs with the Brewers, but they planned to return Friday. Block said she was told that bats autographed by Simon would be waiting at Miller Park, and hers would be the same bat Simon swung at her Wednesday night.

The sausage race, a fan favorite since 1995, features team employees dressed as an oversized bratwurst, hot dog, Italian sausage and Polish sausage.

Simon said he was just playing around when he swatted at the racer with the bat.

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

Simon appeared in the district attorney's office Thursday. Deputy District Attorney Jon Reddin said after reviewing the tape and interviewing the women he would not file criminal charges.

``It's such a silly little thing, you know,'' Block said. ``I can see both point of views. ... From my point of view, it's crazy because I am not used to like being interviewed or anything. I'm like, 'I'm just a sausage, guys. It's not a big deal. I'm fine.'''

Block, who has worked for two summers as a member of the Brewers' on-field promotional team, said it's normal for opposing teams to throw peanuts or squeeze water bottles at them.

``I saw the bat before I got to him. I thought he was just going to fake me out,'' said Block, who stands 5-foot-3. ``I am real little and I didn't take the blow very well.''

Block said the blow didn't hurt because it hit the head section of the costume, which is above her head.

``I don't think he did it intentionally, like to hurt me. I think he was doing it as a joke,'' Block said.

The Pirates apologized and said the team does not condone Simon's behavior and will address the issue internally. Simon was not in the starting lineup Thursday.

Block's mother, Susan Block, said she saw Simon on television Thursday saying he had called her daughter and left messages, but he hadn't.

``That's the part that really makes me mad. ... A nice apology to the girls is in order.''