portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

community building

Sausage Attack! -- Faulty intelligence or none at all

"We are confident that, in time, our belief that the Italian Sausage posed a serious threat to the safety of our organization will be proved correct," said Pirates spokesman Ari Fleischer. "There is no doubt in our minds that the world is a safer place now that the Italian Sausage has been put in its place."
Sausage attack: Faulty intelligence or none at all

MIKE ARGENTO
Saturday, July 12, 2003

The Pittsburgh Pirates said today that Wednesday's pre-emptive strike against the Italian Sausage at Miller Park in Milwaukee will prove to be justified despite claims that the ballclub may have lied about the threat posed by the pork product.

"We are confident that, in time, our belief that the Italian Sausage posed a serious threat to the safety of our organization will be proved correct," said Pirates spokesman Ari Fleischer. "There is no doubt in our minds that the world is a safer place now that the Italian Sausage has been put in its place."

It happened during the middle of the sixth inning of Wednesday's game between the Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers. As the participants in the traditional sausage race the Italian Sausage, the Bratwurst, the Hot Dog and the Polish Kielbasa dashed past the Pirates dugout, Pirates first baseman Randall Simon whacked the Italian Sausage on the back with a bat, sending the encased meat product tumbling to the ground. The Hot Dog then tripped over the Italian Sausage. The Bratwurst went on to win the race.

The incident was the latest in the heightening tension between the Italian Sausage and the Pirates a dispute that has been mediated, with little success, by the United Nations. The United Nations had sought more time to settle the contentious relations between the Italian Sausage and the Pirates to no avail.

"We sent inspectors to Milwaukee to examine Italian Sausages to see whether they posed a threat to world peace," said United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. "Unfortunately, we ran out of time."

The Pirates rejected the UN intervention, saying that the threat posed by the Italian Sausage was too great to wait.

"We have tried to settle this dispute within the boundaries of the United Nations, but there comes a time when you simply cannot reason with a sausage," Fleischer said.

Wednesday night, the Pirates struck at the heart of the Italian Sausage or more accurately, the back when first baseman Randall Simon whacked the sausage on the back of the head as it ran past the Pirates dugout.


Initial reports were confused; officials blamed "the fog of war" for reports that indicated that Simon did not act alone and that a second batsman was seen on a grassy knoll in right field of Miller Park. Further reports indicated that the Italian Sausage fell intentionally to knock the Hot Dog off the winning pace, thereby setting up the Bratwurst for a victory.

Yet other sources said the intended target was the Kielbasa, believed to be responsible for a previous attack on the Pirates' own Pierogie, and that the Italian Sausage and the Hot Dog were essentially collateral damage. The Pirates had spoken harshly about the Kielbasa for months, but lately, the ballclub's rhetoric about the Polish sausage has all but disappeared, replaced by scathing attacks on the Italian Sausage.

Immediately, questions arose whether it intended to take out the Italian Sausage all along despite the fact that intelligence sources said it posed no threat to the Pirates.

Intelligence sources indicated that the Pirates might have "cooked" intelligence to justify the whacking of the Italian Sausage and might have misled baseball fans by misrepresenting the threat posed by the Italian Sausage. Others have suggested that the Pirates relied on either faulty intelligence or no intelligence whatsoever. "Really brainless," is how one official described the attack.

Such allegations gained credibility when it was revealed that the Pirates relied on documents they knew were forged to justify their attack on the Italian Sausage. Pirates envoy Joseph Wilson, who investigated claims that the Italian Sausage had illegally obtained onions and roasted peppers, said he reported that fact to the Pirates more than a year ago, but that the Pirates ignored it because it didn't justify the team's plans regarding the Italian Sausage.

The Pirates said they might have been mistaken about the Italian Sausage's attempts to acquire onions and roasted peppers, but they were confident that claims that the Italian Sausage had stockpiled large reserves of forbidden mustard and relish would prove to be true in coming months. The BBC has reported that British officials do not believe that any mustard or relish will be found in the Italian Sausage's possession.

Despite that, Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said, "We are confident that evidence that the Italian Sausage had a mustard and relish program will surface. I know some of you think we said the Italian Sausage actually had mustard and relish. Whether it had them or not, it is revisionist history to suggest that the Italian Sausage did not pose a threat to the Pirates."

Meanwhile, the Pirates turned their attention to other encased meat products, warning the Bratwurst that it was concerned about the sausage's attempts to developed a beer-related cooking system.

McClendon said, "We're keeping a close eye on the Bratwurst and we're prepared to deal with that threat. Our war on pork products will continue until we achieve total victory. Bring 'em on!"
-----------------


Mike Argento, whose column appears Mondays and Thursdays in the Living section and Saturdays on the editorial page, can be reached at 771-2046 or at  mike@ydr.com.

homepage: homepage: http://ydr.com/story/mike/11336/
address: address: York Daily Record