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Will Smith Reaches Out to Dodgers Fan Whose Cardboard Cutout was Wrecked by Home Run Ball

Will Smith Reaches Out to Dodgers Fan Whose Cardboard Cutout was Wrecked by Home Run Ball
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Editor's note: Given the news about the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Marlins organization Sunday and the postponement of both the Baltimore Orioles series at Miami and the New York Yankees at Philadelphia series (both of which were scheduled to begin Monday), let's acknowledge that the health of all affected is rightly top-of-mind throughout the baseball industry, and certainly at Inside the Dodgers. For the moment, however, we're going to continue to post Dodgers-related material while we wait to see how Major League Baseball responds, and on how news develops. Admittedly, we're uncomfortable about it.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and their fans will likely spend an off-day mulling over losing two of four games to the rival San Francisco Giants to open the season. (There may also be considerable relief in the Dodgers clubhouse that they're not dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak like the Miami Marlins.)

Catcher Will Smith may also spend part of his day off shopping for a new cardboard cutout for Dodgers fan Austin Donley.

On Saturday, Smith's ninth-inning home run to left field cut the Dodgers' deficit to one run. But upon landing in the stands, the ball also snapped the neck of Donley's cutout. Parents may want to view this clip first before deciding whether or not it's suitable for children.

Upon seeing his cardboard stand-in destroyed, Donley took to Twitter to ask if he could at least get Smith's home run ball. That seems like a reasonable request. Especially considering that a cardboard cutout in Dodger Stadium's outfield seats likely cost Donley $300.

As you can see, Smith responded to Donley's tweet and will apparently accommodate the request. It's not yet known if Smith will send Donley the actual home run ball (which should have been easily retrieved with no fans in the stands) or another ball, presumably autographed.

(The Oakland Athletics pledged to send foul balls hitting a cutout to the fan who paid for it. This isn't in foul territory, but isn't it basically the same thing?)

But will the Dodgers catcher also fund a new cardboard cutout for Donley?

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The Dodgers could just leave the cutout as is. It might be kind of a fun reminder of what happened. And the bent cutout won't always be on camera since it's not behind the plate.

Yet it's also probably worth asking if the Dodgers and other MLB clubs putting cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands budgeted for replacements that could get dinged up during the season.

Ian Casselberry watchdogs sports media for Awful Announcing. He's covered baseball for SB Nation, Yahoo Sports and MLive, and was one of Bleacher Report's first lead MLB writers. Please follow Ian on Twitter @iancass and give him a listen at The Podcass.