“It was worth it.”
Those were the final words of a young female Dodger fan as she was being carried off the field by security at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The young fan is reportedly a 14-year-old girl who jumped from the stands and onto to the field in the top of the eighth inning just to give Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Cody Bellinger a hug.
“At first I heard the crowd cheering, and I looked to my left and saw this chick recording with her phone. Running,” said Bellinger of the moment in question. “She came up to me and said ‘I want a hug.’ She gave me a hug, and then as she gave me a hug a security guard tackled her.”
According to the Los Angeles Dodgers Fan Code of Conduct, any fan that goes onto the field of play is considered a violation that will result in “Immediate ejection and/or arrest and prosecution.”
Bellinger knows the rules well, so after the girl was tackled he told her:
“You know you’re going to jail?”
According to Bellinger, she replied:
“Yeah, I know. It was worth it.”
Bellinger went on to say that despite the fact that she believed it was worth it, her parents—who will likely have to pay her fine—probably wouldn’t agree with her.
Bellinger thought the whole ordeal was “funny,” and cautioned any future fans out there who are contemplating running on to the field during a game to give him a hug:
“I don’t think my hugs are that special to be honest. So for future reference, my hugs aren’t that great, so don’t rush me on the field.”
The incident with the young Bellinger fan wasn’t the only oddity on the day. Besides the Dodgers making MLB history with their third consecutive win via walk-off home run by a rookie, a different fan was hit in the head by a foul ball earlier in the game.
Ironically, the foul ball also came off the bat of Bellinger in the bottom of the first inning, and it struck the young female fan who was sitting in the front row of the field section down the first-base line.
“It was weird. It’s the first time I think I’ve hit a fan,” said Bellinger. “I saw it literally hit her face. That was tough. I just tried to regroup. I’m sure it was tough for everyone.”
The young fan was visibly shaken up, but remained in her seat shortly after the sharp line drive struck her. Dodgers’ security gave her an ice pack, and Bellinger checked on her between innings.
“I went over the next half inning just to make sure she was alright,” he said. “She said she was alright. She gave me a thumbs up. Obviously, it’s a scary situation.”
Despite giving Bellinger the thumbs up, the fan later left the game and was taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary reasons. She is expected to make a full recovery.
Last year, a 79-year-old woman was killed after being hit in the head by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium. In May, a young girl was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. in Houston.
The incidents have reignited the discussions around Major League Baseball to extend the safety netting in the lower seats. Many players and teams believe extending the safety netting all the way to the foul pole in all 30 stadiums is the next step towards fan safety.
“I would assume, that would be a smart decision,” said Bellinger of extending the netting. “Just to protect those people in the front row who don’t have enough reaction time. It’s a scary situation.”