Forget protective netting around MLB fields to protect the fans, maybe it should be put up to protect the players.
On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a fan run onto the field while they were playing defense for the third consecutive game.
The first happened at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. The past two have happened at Chase Field in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“It’s getting ridiculous,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner told the Los Angeles Times Tuesday. “It’s just not safe and it seems like they’re getting younger and younger and it’s going around now that nothing’s happening to these young kids. They just kind of get a slap on the wrist. So baseball’s going to have to do something to make it hurt enough to keep fans in the stands and not running out on the field.”
The first occurred Sunday at Dodgers Stadium, when a female, a minor, came onto the field in an attempt to take a photo with star outfielder Cody Bellinger.
The second happened in the eighth inning at Chase Field in Phoenix on Monday, when an 18-year-old woman ran at Bellinger for a hug.
The third occurred Tuesday at Chase Field just after the game’s completion, a 3-2 Los Angeles win. A male, a minor, ran onto the field and at the Dodgers’ outfielders, but was tackled by security in center field.
The female fan who rushed Bellinger on Monday was arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing, the Diamondbacks confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. She was also banned indefinitely from Chase Field.
“I had a feeling that she was harmless,” Bellinger said Monday. “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.”
The popularity of the first encounter on social media worried Bellinger coming into the game.
“I am trying to play a game and I don’t think I should have to worry about who’s going to come on the field and what not,” Bellinger said after Monday’s game.
“I think it could be dangerous. I know it’s innocent right now,” he added.
Manager Dave Roberts fears for his player’s safety, especially with the traction that it’s spreading among fans.
“We really got to worry about that and it’s unfortunate that he’s got to now worry about people coming onto the field,” Roberts said after Monday’s incident.
Another issue that Bellinger faces at Chase Field is the lower fence by the outfield.
Roberts has discussed increasing security to protect his player and believes in the security team to stop this issue from spreading into the next games.
“Things are going to be tightened up certainly,” Roberts said after Monday’s game.
Major League Baseball was in touch with the two clubs after Monday’s incident and adjustments to security were expected, a person with knowledge of the situation told the Los Angeles Times.
“Something needs to happen to keep these kids in the stands and keep the players safe,” Turner told the Los Angeles Times.
USA TODAY Sports’ Scott Gleeson and azcentral sports’ Jenna Ortiz contributed to this story.