I’m still having a hard time believing Jose Fernandez is really dead… and I never even met him. I can’t even begin to imagine how the news of his passing is affecting his teammates, friends and family members.
I expected to be watching Fernandez win games and put together All-Star seasons for years to come…and maybe in another 10-12 years, have conversations with baseball-loving friends about whether he’d be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Obviously, that’s not going to happen now – 76 games are all that we got. I was there for the first one, when he held the Mets to one run on three hits over five innings while striking out eight. He faced the Mets seven more times, earning three victories and four more no decisions. He never allowed more than two runs in any of those starts.
Fernandez was held back from his regular turn with the idea he’d face the Mets this week in Miami. At the time, I wasn’t happy that they’d have to face an ace in the midst of the final days of a close race for the National League Wild Card spots. Now, I wish I’d have another chance to see him pitch.
The tributes from people who knew Fernandez are heartbreaking, because they’re not just mourning the loss of a skilled baseball player – they’re mourning the loss of a friend.
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My brother. You were family to me…my heart is hurting wishing you would just burst through the clubhouse doors any second now late like always laughing telling me how many red and yellow snapper you caught last night…you were always happy and kept the biggest smile on your face…you may have rubbed people who didn't get to know you the wrong way at times but I always had your back no matter what and didn't never let you get in any of those brawls…last Sunday when you came to chapel with me is crazy now bc you said you needed to go…you just told me that your last game was "the best game I ever pitched in my life" and it was your last…I don't know if God was calling you last Sunday and made you decide to come to chapel or helped you pitch your best game but I do know I love you and I'm so hurt to see my brother go…I know I'm being selfish but you weren't just a teammate to me…you were family…I love you Josey!!! Long Live YOU FOREVER!!!! Rest In Peace my brother I hope you and God catch the biggest fish heaven has to offer. #JDF16FOREVER
I wish I had something profound to say that would make it all make sense… I don’t.
The pastor at my church is doing a sermon series on the Beatitudes. And the scripture she focused on today seems relevant, so I’ll leave you with that, I guess.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” (Matthew 5:4, from Eugene Peterson’s The Message translation)