Under mascot's giant beaks, a takeover brews

July 15, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

There are plenty of Pittsburgh Pirate fans in the Tri-State area, so perhaps it's relevant to bring up the "unpleasantness" that occurred in the Bucs' game with the Milwaukee Brewers last week.

In this game, Pirate first baseman Randall Simon was charged with battery for clubbing a Milwaukee mascot dressed as an Italian sausage.

When I saw the headline on the ESPN Web site, "Simon swings bat at Italian sausage," my first thought was "I didn't know Dom DeLuise was a Brewers fan."

But no, it turns out that at Brewers' games, four sausages (an Italian sausage, a bratwurst, a hot dog and a Polish sausage) conduct a race for some reason.


Needing an explanation, I visited the Brewers Web site and discovered that "According to Sausage lore, as it has been passed down from grill to grill through generations of summer tailgaters, there were four Sausages who lived at Miller Park by the names of the Polish Sausage, the Bratworst, the Hot Dog and the Italian Sausage. At every home game, these four Sausages tested their true flavor by racing each other in the middle of the 6th inning. To the delight of fans, young and old, the Sausages raced and raced to the question, 'Which One Will Win Today?'"

Ooo-kaaaay. Sounds to me like the Brewers are taking their namesake a little too literally, if you know what I'm saying.

Q. Where does an Italian sausage live?

A. In a condimentium.

Q. What does a sausage wear to a wedding?

A. A cummerbun.

Q. What do you get when the freshness date expires on a sausage?

A. A spoiled brat.

(I interrupt this quality programming here, because as longtime readers know, I hate to write columns that are totally about sports, since I realize there is a strong garden club segment of readers out there who simply don't care. So as an effort to "reach out" to these people who would be otherwise disenfranchised, I like to include a home and garden tip in otherwise sports-related columns:

No doubt you have noticed a severe drop in the number of beneficial honeybees in your garden in recent years due to bee mites. If you want to attract bees, plant some borage. It grows readily from seed, has pretty blue flowers and best of all, bees love it! So remember ladies, for honeybees, it's borage.)

Anyhoo, as the quartet of sausages passed the Pirates' dugout Wednesday night, according to ESPN, "Simon took a two-handed chop at the Italian sausage character - portrayed by a 20-year-old South Milwaukee woman - hitting her from behind and causing her to tumble to the ground" and taking the hot dog with her.

"It's an insane act of a person whose conduct is unjustifiable," said Brewers VP Rick Schlesinger. "It sickened me to see it. I can't put into words the anger I feel and the sense of outrage I have."

That goes double for me. So many shocking things happen in sports these days we've become desensitized to it all, but I think this time people will really be floored: The Italian sausage is a chick? On the outside, it's a man. What gives?

I guess this will give pause to all those people who assumed the first woman in the United States to become an Italian sausage mascot would be Hillary Clinton.

Actually, the race used to be open to the public, but, according to newspaper accounts, the Brewers "put an end to that little bit of community outreach a few years back when a couple of drunken sausages got into a brawl and never finished the race."

I did some research and discovered that this young woman has a track record of deceit, having once masqueraded as the probably male "Flippy the Cell phone" and, in Seattle, as the definitely male Mr. Peanut!

Guys, didn't I warn you this would happen if we gave women the vote? They have taken over our politics, our golf courses and now they have insidiously infiltrated our mascots. Legions of females, hiding out under giant beaks, coiled antennae and orange hairdos. What's next, Tonya the Tiger? Jo Ellen Camel?

Forget Joe DiMaggio, where have you gone, Mr. Peanut? Call me a chauvinist pig if you must, but I ain't buying tires from no Michelin Woman.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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