Simon says he'd like another chance
BRADENTON, Fla. — The burly first baseman for the Netherlands team looked familiar to the fans at Manatee Community College.
Randall Simon heard them call to him the other day as he walked to the plate during a tuneup game before the World Baseball Classic.
"They were screaming at me, 'Oh, that's the sausage guy! Randall, we haven't forgotten you,' " Simon said. "That was cool. As long as people don't take it the wrong way, I don't have any problem with it. It's good for baseball and for me too, because they keep remembering me."
Then again, it's hard for anyone to forget the sight of a Pirates player whacking a giant, jogging sausage on the head with a bat. Footage of the incident is immortalized on YouTube .
On July 9, 2003, Simon was in the Pirates dugout during a game in Milwaukee. Before the bottom of the sixth inning, the Brewers' sausage mascots ran their famous race.
Simon reached out with a bat and bopped the Italian Sausage. Mandy Block, who was inside the costume, stumbled and crashed into the Hot Dog.
Simon was arrested, paid a fine and was suspended for three games by Major League Baseball. Later that season, Simon was traded to the Chicago Cubs.
"It was an accident," Simon said. "Things went the wrong way. But that's part of life. You put it behind you. I want to show people I am a good person."
Simon, who is 33 and hasn't played in the majors since 2006, when he appeared in 23 games for the Philadelphia Phillies, will use the WBC as an audition for pro scouts.
"I thank God for the opportunity to play against major-league teams again," Simon said. "I hope I perform (well). It's great exposure for me. I'm in shape. I can still play."
The Netherlands will play the Cincinnati Reds today and the Minnesota Twins tomorrow before starting WBC round-robin play Saturday against the Dominican Republic.
Simon, who went 3 for 5 with two RBI in the Netherlands' 5-4 loss against the Pirates on Tuesday, is not the only former Pirates player on the Dutch team.
Across the diamond from Simon was third baseman Yurendell DeCaster, whose major-league career consists of three games with the Pirates in 2006. The pitching coach is Bert Blyleven, who won a World Series ring with the Pirates in 1979.
Blyleven plans to be in Pittsburgh in August, when the Pirates mark the 30th anniversary of the "We Are Fam-a-lee" champions.
Blyleven was asked to coach in the 2006 WBC, but it did not fit into his schedule. This time, he called Netherlands officials and offered to help.
"It's an honor for me to be part of the Netherlands team, since I was born there and my parents are from Holland," Blyleven said.
The Netherlands team has been training at the Pirates' minor-league complex. Blyleven asked Kent Tekulve, who is in Pirates camp as a special instructor, to talk with some of the Dutch pitchers who use a sidearm motion.
"Teke was a great help," Blyleven said. "If I had Frank Viola here, I'd want him to talk about the changeup. Of course, I talk about the curveball."
Blyleven paused and smiled.
"We want to get Nolan Ryan here to talk about the fastball," he said. "We'll find out if he has a little Dutch in him."Additional Information:
Pirates vs. Minnesota Twins
1:05 p.m. · McKenchnie Field, Bradenton, Fla.
Probable starters: Pirates • LHP Tom Gorzelanny; Twins • LHP Francisco Liriano
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates prospect Bell gets a taste of big league lifestyle
- Pirates notebook: No All-Star break for Cole
- Liriano struggles in his return from injury as Reds knock off Pirates
- Biertempfel: Teams try to get by without their stars
- Pirates’ McCutchen might be National League’s most cost-effective star
- Pirates notebook: Bucs to target pitching on trade market
- Pirates notebook: Grilli out, Melancon in as Pirates closer
- Sunday’s scouting report: Pirates at Reds
- Pirates notebook: Similarity found in Alvarez throwing errors
- Pirates pitching guru Benedict created a ‘Vanimal’ in Worley
- Liriano settles into groove in Triple-A rehab start