R.I.P. Jose Fernandez

Tom Rodenburg, Staff Writer

On April 7th 2013, the baseball world was introduced to a 21-year-old Cuban pitcher making his major league debut for the Miami Marlins. He pitched 5 innings, giving up 1 run and striking out 8 batters. That year, he would go on to win the Rookie of the Year award, while having memorable moments like making an extraordinary catch by snagging a comebacker that all-star Troy Tulowitzki hit. He ended his rookie year with the second best ERA in baseball (2.19), striking out 187 batters. Over the next three seasons he would amaze baseball fans by consistently dominating opposing teams. Early in the morning of September 25th, he would get into a boat crash that would not only kill his two friends, but also himself. This crash left the sports world in a state of shock and sadness, leaving everybody with the thoughts of what could have been. This man’s name is Jose Fernandez.

On September 27th, The Marlins held an emotional game against the New York Mets. This was the first since Fernandez’s death since the game on the 26th was cancelled. In the bottom of the first inning, Dee Gordon started his at-bat by standing on the right side and taking the first pitch to honor Fernandez. Then he went to the left side and on the second pitch he hit his first home run of the season, breaking down into tears at home plate. The Marlins went on to win that game 7-3 and after the game, each player left his cap on the mound in remembrance of Jose Fernandez.

A week before his death, Fernandez posted a picture of his girlfriend on Instagram, announcing that he would become a father. When the news broke of Jose Fernandez’s death, the sports world was sent into shock. At first, it was thought that he was going too fast and that there were no drugs or alcohol involved; however, over a month later, it was found that there was cocaine in his system and he had a BAC of 1.4. In the days to come the story continued getting more sad. Outfielder Marcell Ozuna and other Marlins players came out and said that Fernandez asked them to go out with him that night. Knowing that it wasn’t a good idea, they not only said no, but also tried to talk him out of going out on the boat that night. Fernandez was said to be under a ton of stress that night. Also, it was discovered that one of Fernandez’s friends who died had a conversation, saying that it, “wasn’t his time yet,” when being told to stay safe. That friend also used the find my iPhone app so that another friend could track his phone until about 1:AM before going to sleep. By 2:AM, the signal would be lost.

The death of Jose Fernandez is a tragic loss and it leaves baseball fans with the question, What could have been? How many all-star games would he pitch in? Would he win a Cy Young Award? Could he help the Marlins win a World Series? Could he have been a hall of famer? Sadly, these questions were answered far too early. Fernandez’s number 16 became the first number (other than Jackie Robinson’s, whose is retired throughout baseball) to be retired by the Miami Marlins in their entire history. In his career, he left us with moments that will be looked at for years to come. Love him or hate him, all we can say is, thank you Jose Fernandez.