Jose Fernandez as present as ever at All-Star festivities
With countless members of the baseball brotherhood descending on Miami for the All-Star festivities, the memory of Jose Fernandez was not forgotten.
The Miami Marlins went into the All-Star festivities down one player. Jose Fernandez would have undoubtedly been part of the event. Either as a fan vote, or elected by coaches, Fernandez was too electric to be left out.
Unfortunately, that never came to pass. We don’t need to rehash the grizzly details of his passing, surely we’ve all heard them enough by now. On a night when he would have been one of the main attractions, his absence was palpable.
That isn’t to say that he wasn’t at the forefront of everyones mind at some point, though.
Fernandez was as present as someone can be without actually being there. Fellow ballplayers assured his presence would be felt.
Media regularly asked for comments about Jose Fernandez from the All-Stars that were participating in the event. While they varied in degrees of how well they knew him, Athletics first baseman Yonder Alonso shared a common background.
Both were born in Cuba and made their way over to the United States.
It’s difficult to imagine what it would have meant to the Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins organization, the city of Miami, and Major League Baseball as a whole to have Fernandez participate in this years All-Star Game.
Still young in his career, he possessed the makings of generational talent. He’d already ascended into the upper-echelon of active pitchers in the Major Leagues, and his best years appeared to lay ahead of him.
Bryce Harper paid his respects to Fernandez with these shoes. They drew rave reviews, and he might find that he won over a few new, albeit begrudging fans by wearing them.
The effects of Jose Fernandez’s passing still echoes and reverberates in the city of Miami. It will likely continue to do so in perpetuity. Like a thief in the night, he stole the hearts of countless Miami baseball fans and was gone in the blink of an eye.
According to teammate Giancarlo Stanton, starting in Tuesday’s All-Star Game was at the top of Jose Fernandez’s checklist
"“His No. 1 thing to that point, besides winning Cy Young, was to start this game,” Stanton said."
For many, emotion comes flooding back in waves. The pain isn’t as present as it used to be. And fans who marveled at what Fernandez could do on the mound from a distance might find they heal a little bit faster.
But for those who knew Jose personally, interacted with him on a daily basis, the healing is ongoing. That includes Miami Marlins owner Jeffery Loria, who says he still carries Jose’s memory with him everyday.
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Jose Fernandez was unlike anything the Miami had seen. Affable and charismatic, he gave fans hope that the team they so desperately wanted to embrace was going in the right direction. Like a star, he burned brightly, and would supernova abruptly and without warning.
The All-Star Game is behind us now. It was an event everyone imagined Jose Fernandez would participate in. In a traditional sense, his absence was gut-wrenching reminder of what happened less than a year ago. But in many ways, he was more present than he ever could have been.