A few weeks ago, the Dodgers announced that for $300 you can have a cardboard cutout of yourself placed either behind home plate at Dodger Stadium or in the outfield in their brand-new ‘Home-run seats’.
When this fan paid $300 for his, I don’t think he was expecting his cutout to be nearly decapitated by a Will Smith home run.
Meet Austin Donley, a Dodgers fan that took the internet by storm yesterday.
In the ninth inning of Saturday’s game, Smith hit a home run to lead off the inning. The ball was scorched off the bat, nearly taking the head off of this cutout.
This Will Smith home run ball nearly took the head off of a fan cutout in the outfield seats pic.twitter.com/CHpELn8ptW— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 25, 2020
If you’re wondering whether or not Donley was watching the game live when it happened, he wasn’t. “I actually was not, which is extremely rare for me,” Donley said. “I watched the first couple innings at home then went down to the beach for a little, socially distanced of course. I was streaming the game on my phone until about the 8th when I got in the water. Came back and my phone was absolutely blowing up.”
With the game nationally televised on FOX, the entire country was watching when Smith’s homer brought the Dodgers to within a run. Donley spent $300 to have his cutout in the home run seats, along with his dad who got one too.
“We were deciding between the outfield and dugout club and we chose to be out there because we thought it would be cool to see ourselves in the background of a walk-off home run or double off the wall or something.”
Yeah, safe to say he wasn’t expecting his head to be nearly torn off from a home run.
“I really couldn’t believe it,” he said. “We were just hoping we would maybe be in the background of a few big home runs or something. Never even thought I would be the first (guessing first) fan drilled in the face this year.”
With a lot of stadiums doing these cutouts this year, it’s likely that Donley won’t be the only one who gets drilled by a ball. However, it was the first notable one of the year, and it was on national television to boot.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Donley said when asked about how this has gone viral. “My phone has been vibrating non stop essentially all evening. The funny thing is, my dad made a funny face in his cutout so we were expecting his cutout to be the one that goes “viral” or whatever on social media.
“It’s very surreal seeing baseball writers I’ve followed for years, like Mike Petriello, tweeting pictures of my face. Barstool Big Cat retweeted it as well which is when it really seemed to take off. The Dodgers minor league pitcher Jordan Sheffield liked my tweet which was really cool.”
Will Smith put a baseball through this fine young man's throat pic.twitter.com/yni8Id6d3r— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) July 25, 2020
The main thing I wanted to know when talking to Donley was whether or not he would get a new cutout at Dodger Stadium, or if they’re going to just leave it like that for the rest of the season. He’s currently unsure as to what’s going to happen with it, but he did hear from someone who played a little role in this taking off.
Smith, the Dodgers catcher who hit the cutout, responded to his tweet.
Sorry I took your head off shoot me a dm and I’ll hook it up for you— Will Smith (@will_smith30) July 26, 2020
This is quite the story Donley will be able to tell for the rest of his life. A lot of people will be able to say they’ve caught a home run hit by Will Smith at Dodger Stadium. How many can say their cutout took a line drive off the face? Only one.
He got a signed bat from Will Smith. Safe to say, it was well worth it.
Huge thank you to @will_smith30 and the @Dodgers for hooking it up! Wouldn’t want to be hit in the cardboard face by anybody else #gododgers pic.twitter.com/91zS7AbqDi— Austin Donley (@adonley3) July 30, 2020