Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Yesterday evening, the Netherlands rebounded from an 0-1 deficit in the 11th inning to defeat the heavily favored Dominican Republic 2-1 in the Pool D elimination round of the World Baseball Classic. What an upset! Whereas the Dominican roster is studded with Third Base or Bust favorites (Robbie Cano, Big Papi, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez) as well as some very reputable MLB players (same list, minus Cano, plus the entire pitching staff), the Netherlands have Sidney Ponson and Randall Simon...aka "that guy who knocked down the Italian Sausage in the 2003 Milwaukee Sausage Race" (more about this later).

Winning Isn't Everything (But It's Way Better Than Losing):
Reyes and Robinson Cano brooding on the bench after the DR's elimination

Having spent the morning reading about the history of baseball in the Netherlands, I can now expertly vouch that there is NO LOGICAL OR HISTORICAL REASON for their victory. Here are some interesting facts about baseball (or "honkbal") in the Netherlands, though:

1. Baseball was introduced to the Netherlands in 1911 by J.C.G. Grasé, who observed the sport while on vacation in America.

2. In 1925, a team composed of visiting U.S. naval officers defeated the Dutch club, "Blue White," 27-2.

3. The Dutch Major Leagues are called the "Honkbal Hoofdklasse." Teams playing at this top level of competition include: the SV ADO (Den Haag), the Amsterdam Pirates (Amsterdam), the Corendon Kinheim (Haarlem), the DOOR Neptunus (Rotterdam), the Instant Holland A90 (Almere), the Konica Minolta Pioniers (Hoofddorp), the Sparta-Feyernoord (Rotterdam), and the Mr. Cocker HCAW (Bussum). Mr. Cocker is the dog proprieter of this restaurant, it seems.

4. There is a Dutch Baseball and Softball Museum.

5. The 2009 national team wears orange hats. Their next game will be tonight at 5:30pm against Puerto Rico.

Yeah, I did that. What up?

But anyway, back to the sausages. I'm tempted to copy and paste the entire Wikipedia page on the Milwaukee Sausage Race here, but, well, instead I'll just strongly recommend it. I am going to copy and paste the section entitled, "Randall Simon Incident," because it's just too good to excerpt:

On July 9, 2003, Randall Simon, then the first baseman of the Pittsburgh Pirates, hit the head of a runner's costume with a baseball bat. The tap didn't hit the human head of Mandy Block who was wearing the Italian Sausage costume, but it did knock her over, and she took the Hot Dog down with her. The Polish Sausage helped the Italian Sausage up and all sausages finished the Race. Simon was arrested and paid a fine, and was suspended by Major League Baseball for three games. He later apologized. Block asked only that the offending bat be autographed and given to her. Simon obliged. Since that incident, T-shirts and other memorabilia popped up with the now infamous words, "Don't whack our wiener!"

Simon was traded to the Chicago Cubs later that season (for reasons unrelated to the incident). He returned to Milwaukee with the Cubs for a series against the Brewers. During the first game, Simon's teammates playfully held him back as the sausages raced past their dugout, and manager Dusty Baker guarded the bat rack. In that same game, Simon purchased Italian sausages for a randomly chosen section of the crowd.

On October 1, 2008, the Brewers traveled to Philadelphia to play the Philadelphia Phillies in Milwaukee's first post-season game since the 1982 World Series. In the middle of the 6th inning, three feebly dressed sausages appeared from the left field gate of Citizens Bank Park in what proved to be a mockery of the Miller Park tradition. The three sausages were then accosted by the Phillie Phanatic at home plate to the delight of the Phillies fans. Simon, who played for the Phillies in 2006, was invited back and received loud cheers as he hit the fake sausages with a large plastic bat. Most fans understood the reference, and laughed that Simon was invited back for the gag.

Okay, here's a video!

*Remember that crossword puzzle? Hahahahahaha.

1 comment:

  1. "The Chorizo was added for the 2006 season to commemorate Latino contributions to the game of baseball, as well as to acknowledge the Brewers' growing Latino fanbase."

    My brain hurts.