The slide at the Milwaukee Brewers’ ballpark has always been tantalizing. It belongs to that mustachioed doofus Bernie Brewer, so that he can celebrate his team’s dingers, but a reasonable person could look at that contraption and want to slide down it. The team does offer “up to 5 rides down Bernie’s Slide” as part of a tour package starting at $150, but when you’re a visiting team’s sideline reporter like David Vassegh, you get to bypass the fee. You may end up paying a greater cost, though.
On Wednesday, the Dodgers sideline reporter got his wish and went down Bernie’s Slide. It was fun for him until the end:
Vassegh said in the first part of his interview with Nomar Garciaparra and Joe Davis that he was fine, but it was a pretty loose definition of fine: He told his fellow broadcasters that he suffered “a fracture in my right hand/wrist area in two places and, to boot, six cracked ribs.” Ouch. To his credit, Vassegh took the whole thing in stride, returning from a trip to an orthopedist by the fifth inning to work the rest of the game. The Dodgers coalesced around their battered sideline reporter and scored a run in the sixth and another in the seventh to win 2-1. After the win, dinger-hitter Austin Barnes said his home run was for Vassegh, and told him, “We all rallied today for you.” Lovely.
Vassegh isn’t the only side reporter to fall victim to Bernie’s Slide this month. Last week, Tricia Whitaker of Bally Sports Sun gleefully ripped down the slide, only to crash into the wall with the left side of her face. She said afterward that her ear and “left side of my head” were unwell, but she avoided any broken bones.
I can relate to Vassegh and Whitaker’s need for speed. One of my earliest memories is when I went to the little park by my house with my mother, and watched the older kids ride their tricycles and bicycles down the smooth metal slide. They would exit upright onto the wood chips and pedal away, as if they’d cheated gravity. I remember thinking this was the coolest thing any kid could do, so when she looked away for a second, I seized my moment. There I was, poised atop the slide, straddling my stupid plastic bike. I appreciate that she let me fail on my own terms, which I obviously did, immediately crashing with my whole face into the dirt at what felt like, for a 2-year-old, 200 miles per hour. Bernie’s Slide, I see what you’ve done for others, and I want that for me.