Cody Bellinger has blossomed into a superstar and National League MVP candidate for the Los Angeles Dodgers, cementing himself as a fan favorite. Over the past few days, it has become apparent just how much he is adored by some.
During Sunday’s win over the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium, a fan ran onto the field and was tackled by security while trying to hug Bellinger. According to Bellinger, the fan, a young girl, told him that possibly going to jail was “worth it” for a chance to hug him.
However, it became apparent that this was not an isolated incident when another fan ran onto the field during Monday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks and attempted to make contact with Bellinger before security restrained her.
While Bellinger initially laughed off Sunday’s lighthearted moment, having a similar episode the very next day in a completely different setting at Chase Field seemed to unnerve him, and he made it clear Monday night that he wants these fans’ actions to stop.
The Dodgers may be taking the matter into their own hands to ensure no more repeats of fans interrupting gameplay for a closer look at Bellinger, according to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said there’s “talk of increasing the security” around Bellinger to attempt to prevent another repeat. “It kind of gains momentum and then it’s kind of something that attracts more people,” Roberts said. “You just worry about Cody in the sense of something harmful gets in people’s heads so we really got to be mindful of that and it’s unfortunate that he’s now got to worry about people coming on the field.”
Now in his fourth season as Dodgers manager, Roberts has shown an ability to prioritize his players and put them in the best position to succeed.
He has had to do that with Bellinger in multiple ways recently. Earlier in Sunday’s game, Bellinger hit a foul ball the struck a fan in the head just beyond the dugout on the first base side. Play stopped while paramedics and staff rushed to treat the girl, and Roberts came out of the dugout to comfort a visibly shaken Bellinger.
Bellinger wound up hitless in the game, which the Dodgers won on a history-making walk-off home run from rookie Will Smith.
Given that Bellinger is having an amazing season that is partially responsible for the Dodgers’ success as a team, the last thing Roberts wants is for his best player to get distracted by the thought of more overzealous fans rushing toward him during a game.