Today, Sunday September 25th, the world of baseball lost an amazing soul. As a fan of the game waking up early this morning and turning on SportsCenter and seeing that Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident was shocking. I was unsure it was real at first. As the morning went on reality just creeping up on me and then i realized it was true. One of the most dominant pitchers in 2016 was gone. It wasn’t the usual feeling you get when a dominant pitcher hits the DL for the rest of the year or is going to be out for a season or two due to tommy john. He was gone for good. It gives you an empty feeling in your stomach knowing that the last out he recorded on Tuesday night against Daniel Murphy to complete 8 innings of shutout baseball was going to be the last time you have ever seen him pitch. In today’s game it is hard to find players who have an absolute joy for the game. I don’t mean have a passion for it strong enough to go out and play as hard as you can. I mean genuinely enjoy going out there every day, win or lose and having an absolute blast. That is what Jose Fernandez brought to the field. Ask anyone in baseball and they are going to tell you those exact words. As much as opposing hitters hated seeing him toe the rubber on game day, they loved watching the intensity and fire he would bring every game.

When Fernandez was 16 he finally made it over to the US after failing three times before to do so. His stepfather had already made it over years before him, and in a 2007 attempt Fernandez ended up saving his mother from drowning after she fell off of the boat. He was drafted by the then Florida Marlins and made his debut April 7th 2013, striking out 8 hitters in 6 innings of one run baseball. Fernandez had an incredible relationship with his grandmother, and a few weeks into the 2013 season she came over and got to see him pitch. For Fernandez, this was an incredible experience because he believes shes one of the reasons that he became an elite major league player. Fernandez was a huge contributor to various organizations around the Miami community and became the face of the Marlins franchise.

To add to Fernandez’s character off the field, he also had an amazing personality on the field. On August 24th, 2013 in a game against the Colorado Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki hit a bullet back at Fernandez. In an instant, Fernandez snagged the line drive out of mid air stopping Tulo in his tracks. When Fernandez was walking back to the dugout Tulo looked at him and asked “did you catch that?” to which Fernandez could only smile and shake his head yes. That moment alone gave baseball fans a reason to absolutely love him, if you already didn’t for his incredible baseball abilities.

Fernandez gave kids a reason to believe. Every young kid looks up to certain major league players as a certain motivational figure to help them in their own game. Why? Because there is still something great about sports in its greatest moments. Throw away the money and the fame. Fernandez rose above himself and touched greatness, and in doing so, reminded everyone else that they have greatness inside them to. Atleast he did that for me. Now a days in sports everybody focuses on money, or wins and losses and it has begun to take away fun from the game,. But with Fernandez, he showed you that you could go out, be successful and still have fun doing it. It shows kids that you don;t have to have an immense amount of pressure to go out there and be completely serious to be successful. You are allowed to have fun and enjoy yourself playing the game that you grown to love to do. Fernandez adored the game of baseball and you could see that on his face anytime it was shown. Now why I can’t explain why Fernandez was taken from us so soon, I can say that he left a huge impact not only on the Miami Marlins organization,  but on all of baseball. Today we say goodbye to one of the most dominant, fun, enjoyable pitchers in baseball. May you rest in peace Jose Fernandez.

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