Eloy Jimenez was sitting around minding his own business when he was struck in the knee by an errant baseball. The Oakland Colusieum’s dingy facilities had claimed another victim.

James Kaprielian’s 2-1 fastball to fellow rookie Andrew Vaughn should have been a routine play. Vaugh was late on the fastball and fouled it off towards the dugout. In most stadiums, the ball would hit the dugout fence and fall harmlessly. Not in Oakland.

The foul ball came screaming into the dugout and struck Eloy Jimenez on the knee. He immediately collapsed to the floor and had to be checked on by the trainer.

Wide-open dugouts with no fences to protect players are one of the many charms of the Oakland Coliseum. It blends right in with the other eye scores such as an upper deck that is completely covered with a tarp and blocks any views of natural landmarks. The foul territory seems endless and places the fans further away from the action than any other ballpark and a dugout and bullpen that provides no railing and zero protection for players.

The Athletics used to share the stadium with the Oakland Raiders, hence the reason for all that foul ground and no fences. But the Raiders have abanded Oakland for Las Vegas so there is really no reason for the lack of dugout fencing for players.

We have already seen the damage errant foul balls can do. Fans frequently getting plunked by dangerous line drives is one of the reasons the MLB was forced to take action in 2019. The Oakland Athletics followed baseball’s new regulations of protecting the fans by extending protective netting down the lines. The players are even closer to balls exploding off bats. They need to be protected too.

Luckily Eloy Jimenez was able to shake it off and trotted out to his position in left field the following inning. Despite the wonky knee he dashed around the bases and slid into home in the top of the fifth inning to beat a tag on Gavin Sheets RBI single.

Tony La Russa told reporters after the game that X-rays were negative and nothing was broken. He also mentioned that Eloy is sore and there is a bruise but he should be fine otherwise. Jimenez finished the game going 1-for-3 with a single, a run scored, and two strikeouts. The White Sox went onto win the game 6-3.

The Oakland Coliseum has always been a house of horrors for the White Sox. Their record all time is 139-167. Over the past ten seasons, they have had a winning record in Oakland just twice. The last time they swept a series in Oakland was in 2015. Last season the White Sox were eliminated from the Postseason in…you guessed it, Oakland. Tony La Russa and company are looking to escape this year with a serious victory and their health.

Hopefully, the players have their heads on a swivel in the outdated dugouts.

Mitchell Kaminski
Mitchell studies sports communications at Bradley University and works for Braves Vision, an organization that works alongside ESPN broadcasting games and covering Bradley sports. Creator of Dorm Room Dispute podcast.