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Pittsburgh Pirate Player won't be charged after hitting mascot with bat
Thursday, July 10
Simon won't be charged after hitting mascot with bat
ESPN.com news services
MILWAUKEE -- In a bizarre scene during a popular costume race at Milwaukee Brewers games, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Randall Simon bopped a woman dressed as a huge Italian sausage with a bat and was arrested.
Prosecutors decided Thursday not to file criminal charges, though Simon was fined $432 for disorderly conduct.
The incident happened during the seventh-inning stretch, as four people dressed as an oversized bratwurst, a hot dog and Italian and Polish sausages were racing past the Pirates' dugout.
As they jogged by, Simon swatted the Italian sausage, who went down in a heap. The giant hot dog stumbled over the sausage and also tumbled to the ground. The two women wearing the costumes were treated for scraped knees.
The 18-year-old woman in the Italian sausage costume, Mandy Block, thought the whole thing was "kind of funny."
"It just seems ridiculous," Block told WTMJ-TV of Milwaukee. "It's like a big sausage getting hit by a bat causes all this controversy. It just seems kind of funny to me.
"It wasn't that big of a blow. I think just because I'm so small and it's such a big costume that I tumbled."
"It was very strange," Pirates outfielder Reggie Sanders said.
Simon was booked for misdemeanor battery, but Deputy District Attorney Jon Reddin said Thursday that the women "were not interested in having him charged criminally" and didn't believe Simon meant to hurt them, so the battery charges were dismissed.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig issued a statement Thursday afternoon.
"Major League Baseball deeply regrets the incident that took place at Miller Park last night and extends its regards to the victims. We are reviewing the situation pending the disposition of the criminal charges against Randall Simon of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"Obviously, the type of behavior exhibited by Mr. Simon is anathema to the family entertainment that we are trying to provide in our ball parks and is wholly unacceptable.
Simon said he didn't deliberately try to knock down the 18-year-old in the sausage costume.
"That wasn't my intention in my heart for that to happen," he said before a Thursday game at Miller Park. "I was just trying to get a tap at the costume and for her to finish the race."
"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."
Rock 102, a Milwaukee radio station, will allow listeners to take swings at a Simon pinata later in the afternoon.
Simon said after the game that he hoped to apologize to the woman before he left Milwaukee. Earlier Thursday, however, he said he had talked to her and, "I don't need to talk to her again. So I got nothing to say."
Sanders said he thought the weight of the sausage costume contributed to the fall. "It maybe made it look worse than it was," Sanders said. "It was an unfortunate situation and, hopefully, it gets resolved."
Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers' executive vice president for business operations, said he felt Simon's "conduct is just unjustified."
The Pirates issued a statement Thursday saying they do not condone Simon's behavior and will address the issue internally.
Later that day, four new people were inside the costumes, and Pirates players moved into the dugout and away from the field during the race.
"They're rounding the Pirates dugout -- they've made it safely," said Robb Edwards, the Brewers announcer, to the wild cheers of fans on their feet.
Fittingly, the Italian sausage won.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Friday, July 11
All 'Italian sausage' really wants is infamous bat
MILWAUKEE -- The young woman inside the Italian sausage costume says she'll accept an apology from Pittsburgh first baseman Randall Simon, but all she really wants is the bat he swatted her with as she ran past the Pirates' dugout.
With one swing Wednesday night, Simon sent 19-year-old Mandy Block tumbling to the ground in the heavy costume. A fellow racer dressed as a hot dog 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.
"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.
The Pirates apologized and said the team does not condone Simon's behavior and will address the issue internally.