Sep 11, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) smiles on the pitching mound during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Today, that venerable chronicle of baseball, The Sporting News, announced their selection of Miami’s José Fernandez as the National League’s best rookie for the 2013 season.
TSN’s award began a year in advance of the MLB award, and votes for the TSN award are cast by fellow players in the respective leagues, while the MLB award is determined by the BBWAA. Marlins fans have yet another snub to look forward to from the legacy media.
National League players were pretty clear that they’d rather pitch to Yasiel Puig than try to hit against José:
"Fernandez received 64 votes, Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers received four, and St. Louis’s Shelby Miller received two, as did Atlanta teammates Evan Gattis and Julio Teheran."
The Marlins’ pitching coach, Chuck Hernandez, probably won’t be surprised by the award:
"Hernandez was an assistant coach at South Florida, and Fernandez was a highly recruited prepster at Alonso High School in Tampa, throwing a game against Tampa Catholic. It just so happened that Hernandez’s son, Cody, played for Tampa Catholic.Hernandez watched Fernandez warm up and quickly developed a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. After just one inning, he made the phone call to Lelo Prado, the head coach at South Florida. See, Fernandez was a South Florida signee, and Hernandez was calling to tell his boss to deliver some bad news.“I told him, forget it, you’re never going to see him,” Hernandez says with a laugh. “Forget that. He ain’t coming here. It was a nice sign, but you’re never going to get him.”The only question in Hernandez’s mind, and what he told a couple of the scouts in attendance, is which pick in the first round would be used for Fernandez."
My prediction is that the BBWAA will find a way to give the award to a player not from Miami, never mind that TSN’s winner added a great big ole goose egg to the stats of the runner-up. Fortunately for José, Yasiel also got into trouble for pimping home runs (and triples). There’s no doubt that Puig is an impact player, but the Marlins went 8-2 in games that Fernandez started after the All-Star break, and 19-40 when anyone else started. That’s the kind of single-player impact Puig can only wish he had.
In pre-digital America, The Sporting News was the go-to paper to keep up with all of the little details about baseball, as they had by far the most in-depth coverage of the sport. For those living outside the distribution area of a team’s home-town papers, it was the only source of baseball news. It’s nice to see that they are still around, covering baseball.
Congratulations on the award, José. Let’s hope “real” sportswriters see things the same way.