Arena: Devastating Loss Shocks Baseball World

Bob Levey

Bob Levey

The baseball world mourns the loss of one of their best, Jose Fernandez, who was lost in the early hours of Sunday morning in a boating accident. The Miami Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernández was just 24 years old. A Cuban native, Fernández was born in Santa Clara on July 31, 1992. He was one of the up and coming pitchers in baseball after escaping Cuba just eight years ago, to build a better life in the United States free from tyranny. However, the one thing Fernández was able to pursue is Cuba was his passion for baseball. He trained vigorously, realizing that baseball would be an avenue out of Cuba, if an MLB team pursued him. After escaping Cuba in 2008, Fernandez enrolled in Braulio Alonso High School, in Tampa Florida. In 2011, the 18 year old Fernandez was drafted 14th overall by the Marlins after being defected from Cuba in 2008 after three unsuccessful attempts. After his time in the Marlins Minor league system, Fernandez was ready for the big leagues and he set to make a big impact upon his arrival with the Miami Marlins Big League club. Fernández made his major league baseball debut on April 7, 2013. After a spectacular rookie season, the 20 year old Fernández was selected to be part of the 2013 MLB All-Star Game and won the National League Rookie of the Month award in July and August. After the season, Fernandez was honored with the Rookie of the Year award and finished 3rd in the CY YOUNG ballot, baseball’s highest pitching honor.

The loss of Fernández leaves a large gap in the hearts of many. All around the league and in much of South Florida, family, friends, and teammates reflect on the great young man that he was, besides being one of the three best young pitchers in baseball today. He was a daring young man that loved his family more than anything and did anything in his power to give everyone a better life. After that successful attempt of defecting from Cuba, José's mother fell into the ocean when the boat hit turbulent waters, and he had to dive into the water to save his mother's life. Unfortunately, Fernández was unable to be saved this time during this horrific tragedy that took away his life. This attests to the kind of character that made him so well liked and respected on an off of the field. Besides being a terrific baseball player, Fernández was regarded as one of the most kind hearted and fun loving young men in baseball as reflected on by his peers. In one instance, report Buster Olney reflected on a time when Fernández was hit by a pitch by an opposing pitcher, as a means of retaliation for Fernández hitting a player with one of his pitches. Instead of creating more tension towards the opposing team, Fernández kindly said “I understand if you hit me, its ok, but please stay away from my head." Fernández wasn’t the one to fight anyone or create tension filled relations with players, but he did have a fiery, competitive nature that led him to become one of the best in the game. On such a sad and somber day, the Miami Marlins have canceled their game against the Atlanta Braves, with heavy hearts. The Marlins released a statement:

 "The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time." All across the South Florida area, thoughts will be on the devastating tragedy of Fernández who will be terribly missed as both a baseball player and a family man. The Miami Dolphins football team plans to honor Fernández with a moment of silence today. And today, the rest of the world will unexpectedly say goodbye to one of the biggest up and coming stars and a fan favorite, Jose Fernández.