LOS ANGELES - Another baseball fan has been injured by a baseball flying into the stands.
A young woman was hospitalized Sunday afternoon after being hit by a foul ball off the bat of Dodgers right fielder Cody Bellinger, the Los Angeles Times reported. The woman, who was not identified, was sitting four rows from the field on the first-base side at Dodger Stadium, just beyond the protective netting that extends to both dugouts at the park.
Play was stopped for two minutes while paramedics tended to the fan. Bellinger was visibly shaken after the incident, holding his hand to his helmet as he peered into the stands. After he flied out to end the first inning, Bellinger checked on the fan's condition before heading to his position in right field, the Times reported.
“It was weird. It was the first time that I think I’ve actually hit a fan,” Bellinger told reporters. “I saw it literally hit her face. It was tough.”
The fan stayed in her seat for about 15 minutes, holding an ice pack to her head, but then was taken to an area hospital for precautionary tests, The Washington Post reported.
It was the latest incident in a series of fan injuries at major league ballparks.
In 2018, all 30 major league stadiums expanded protective netting to at least the far ends of each dugout, the newspaper reported.
On Aug. 25, 2018, 79-year-old Linda Goldbloom was hit by a foul ball during the ninth inning of a game at Dodger Stadium. Goldbloom, who was celebrating her birthday and her 59th wedding anniversary, died four days later after emergency brain surgery, KTLA reported.
Another scary incident occurred May 29, 2019, in Houston, when a young girl was struck in the head by a foul ball it by Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr.
There have been incidents at minor league stadiums, too. On June 1, a boy was hospitalized after being struck by a foul ball at an Indianapolis Indians game.
Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill told the Times he called the Major League Baseball Players Association to express his concerns and appeal for even more extended netting.
“It’s such a little investment to protect a life,” Hill told the newspaper. “Everybody puts their seat belt on when they get in a car. Times change. A lot of things have changed to indicate in these circumstances that we’re in a different time. That’s it. Period.”
Bellinger agreed, saying the nets should be extended.
“I would assume that would be a smart decision, just to protect those people in the front row who don’t have much reaction time, Bellinger told the Times.
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