When the Milwaukee Brewers hit a home run at their home stadium, American Family Field, their mascot rides down a slide beyond the left field wall to celebrate. When a visiting reporter at a game on Wednesday went down the slide, he broke bones.
The reporter, David Vassegh, who covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for SportsNet LA, rode down the slide before Wednesday’s game between the Brewers and the Dodgers. The yellow slide that twists from one tier of the ballpark to another below, a defining feature of Milwaukee’s ballpark, is known as Bernie’s Slide, named for the team’s mascot.
Within seconds of the start of his descent, which was broadcast on SportsNet LA, Vassegh begins yelling.
“Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap,” Vassegh says in the video of his slide.
At the end of his ride, Vassegh slammed into a barrier a few feet away from the foot of slide. The crash left Vassegh with a fractured wrist and six cracked ribs, according to SportsNet LA.
Joe Davis, a Dodgers TV play-by-play announcer, said that Vassegh had been talking about going down the slide for days.
“I’ve never heard somebody so excited about doing anything,” Davis said during Wednesday’s broadcast.
Despite his injuries, Vassegh didn’t immediately seek medical care after the crash. He did a pregame interview with Justin Turner, the Dodgers’ third baseman, before going to an urgent care center.
“Trea Turner makes sliding look pretty easy, but one trip down the slide for you, and you’re heading to the I.L.,” Justin Turner told Vassegh, referring to the Dodgers shortstop known for his speed on the basepaths. “I’ve got to say, you’re really chiefing this out because you should be going to get a picture on that thing right now, and you insisted on doing this interview first.”
Vassegh told Justin Turner he’d return to the ballpark from his visit with the doctors before the end of the game.
“You’ll see me by the ninth inning tonight,” he said.
Vassegh indeed returned in time to do a postgame interview with Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes on the field.
“That one was for you,” Barnes said of the Dodgers’ 2-1 victory, which improved their league-best record to 81-35. “We all rallied today for you.”
Trips down the slide are not exclusively for Bernie. The Brewers offer fans the chance to ride down the slide for up to $175 per person. The team notes on its website that to go down the slide, fans must be at least 8 years old, and physically able to climb two flights of stairs to reach the platform. Fans must also sign a waiver.
Justin Turner posted a picture of the crash site on Twitter on Thursday. Marked on the barrier that Vassegh slammed into is an outline of a body and the words “holy crap.”
The Brewers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday about the slide, but before Thursday afternoon’s game between the Brewers and the Dodgers, Bernie brought Vassegh some yellow flowers and a “slide instruction manual” on the field.
“It’s really not that hard,” the inside of the card said.
Vassegh said on SportsNet LA on Thursday that he was “a little sore” but ready to cover the game.
“Are you not entertained by me doing my own stunts?” Vassegh said in a segment on SportsNet LA before the game.