Sesame Street Violence Mistaken Identity Gets Van Slyke In Trouble With Bert

Posted: August 10, 1995

Here's exactly how badly things are going for the Phillies these days:

Centerfielder Andy Van Slyke found himself in the middle of a controversy after being involved in an incident . . .

With Bert from "Sesame Street."

Here's what happened: As part of pregame ceremonies Tuesday, characters representing Ernie and Bert from Sesame Place in Langhorne cavorted on the field. Van Slyke was signing autographs when Bert approached.

What happened next depends on whom you listen to.

Van Slyke said he thought Tom Burgoyne, the Phillie Phanatic, was inside the costume.

"We have a history of duking it out," said the player, who swatted Bert on the nose with the program he had been signing.

Except it wasn't Burgoyne. It was 19-year-old Tricia Garrett. And her father, who videotaped the incident, wasn't amused.

In fact, he was so unamused he made the video available to at least one local television station, which aired the footage last night.

On the air, Van Slyke appears stern as he whacks Bert on the nose with the program. But he insisted it was all part of the act. At any rate, he called

Garrett yesterday morning.

"I apologized and I thought she accepted my apology," he said. "I called to make sure that she was OK and she said she was."

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