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Cody Bellinger has one simple request for fans: stop trying to hug him.
The Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder isn’t against hugging. He just doesn’t want to be hugged at a very important time during his day: when he’s on the field.
Bellinger spoke out on Monday night after the Dodgers’ 8-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. A fan ran on the field to hug him for the second straight game, and he wants it to stop.
"I’m just trying to play a game. I don’t think I should have to worry about who’s gonna come on the field and whatnot,” Bellinger told Pedro Moura of The Athletic. “I think it could be dangerous, although it’s innocent right now."
The fan who jumped onto the field on Sunday at Dodgers Stadium was a 15-year-old girl named Paola, who took a “once in a lifetime” chance to hug her favorite baseball player. The trend continued on Monday at Chase Field in Phoenix when another woman rushed the field seeking an interaction with Bellinger.
"I had a feeling that she was harmless,” Bellinger told the Arizona Republic. “She came around with a phone again. Like I said, it could potentially get dangerous especially if it keeps getting blown up like it is."
Bellinger’s right. The popularity of the first hugger most likely inspired the second one, and he’s lucky that the intentions of both were so innocent. The fans were also lucky that security only tackled them to the ground. One of the most famous incidents of a fan invading the field happened at Citizens Bank Park in 2010, when a guy ran onto the field and was tased after leading security on a short chase around the outfield.
That incident sparked a debate about whether that kind of force (a taser) is necessary in those kinds of situations. And if fans keep running onto the field, it’s a debate that could be revisited. But this could all be avoided if fans stay where they belong: in the stands, respecting the rules of the stadium and the personal space of the players.
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