The Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the most powerful ownership groups in sports. The franchise is worth more than $5 billion. They're perennial contenders with one of the most beautiful parks/stadiums in all of sports.
Yet, they have a chain-linked fence and exposed slabs of concrete separating right field and the bullpen? And it took an injury to one of the game's biggest starts of us to find out about this?
Perhaps it's Aaron Judge's larger than life size (6-foot-7, 282 pounds) that was a one-of-a-kind factor to spur such a controversy, but Yankees fans will have no problem blaming the trajectory of JD Martinez's line drive (thanks to the fact he crushed New York as a member of the Red Sox).
Maybe only a player of Judge's size could've done that kind of damage to a metal fence (as you can see below), but how did any high-ranking Dodgers official willingly sign off on these ballpark conditions that put their own players in danger for 81 games per year?
Nonetheless, Dodgers team president Stan Kasten told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) that padding will be added to the exposed concrete and that the fence will be reinforced to avoid future catastrophes like this.
Dodger Stadium now updating right field fence after Aaron Judge injury
When you realize the magnitude of Judge's impact with the fence and the resulting controversy, it has to even make Dodgers fans wonder why there haven't been upgrades to what seems to be an archaic layout at an iconic park.
"He didn’t go through the door, which is what I thought when I was watching the game. Then I got out there and realized the door doesn’t open in that direction.- Stan Kasten, The Athletic
He actually broke through where some of the panels were joined, the barrier between the two connecting panels. Which is unbelievable. But we’re going to strengthen that and add a strip of padding on the bottom as well."
Rosenthal also documented another problematic incident concerning the Marlins, who had exposed concrete along their outfield walls, which was rectified after Jazz Chisholm Jr. suffered a similar toe injury after a collision. He's been out since May 14 and it's unclear when he'll return.
Judge has been placed on the injured list with a toe/ligament sprain and will miss at least 10 days of action, marking the second time he'll be on the shelf this season. But this one feels like it could've bene avoidable. And it certainly could've been worse.
It's just crazy to think the Dodgers, who signed Mookie Betts to a $365 million extension three years ago, didn't act upon making upgrades out there knowing he'd likely be patrolling right field for at least a decade.