I am still in shock over the news that Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez lost his life to a boating accident early this morning. One of premier talents in baseball, and by all accounts a good guy, and only 24, Fernandez’ passing a tragedy that extends far beyond the Marlins.
In cases like these, you do not feel like the Marlins, or Marlins fans, lost someone; you feel like we lost someone because in baseball we can be rivals only until tragedy forces us to remember that we are, in fact, united as "baseball fans," and that the "players" we watch are in fact people.
Just last night I was touched deeply watching the Giants-Padres game, in which Yangervis Solarte pinch hit in the bottom of the 7th and received a standing ovation so loud and so long that he could not step into the box the first few times he tried. Solarte had just returned from a leave following the passing of his 31 year old wife from cancer, and fans who couldn't have named his batting average or his UZR still knew he was deserving of that moment. The ovation was relentless and that’s how it should be.
Some players are more talented than others, some are nicer than others, some play for teams that I love and some for teams that I don’t. But when a tragedy strikes, be it Jose Fernandez, Oscar Tavaras, Nick Adenhart, or too many before them, it is all of our losses and it is always reassuring to see that fans all around the game are willing and able to put their allegiances aside and gain proper perspective.
When I went over to the Marlins’ SB Nation site to read the post announcing news of Fernandez’ passing, I scrolled down the comments and if you look what you will see is that few comments are from Marlins fans. Readers from all around SB Nation, representing fans of teams throughout the country, want Marlins fans to know that the loss is theirs too and that it is being felt deeply. The love and respect for Fernandez as a person, as well as a great baseball talent, is relentless and that’s how it should be.
I hope the A’s win today, even though today is not a good day for baseball. It is, however, a good day to love someone.