Monday night, the day after the tragic boating accident that took the lives of Marlins pitcher José Fernández and two other young men, his teammates suited up for an emotional game against the New York Mets. From beginning to end, José’s presence was everywhere.
Every Miami Marlins player was wearing the two-time All Star’s No. 16 jersey that night, which was officially retired before the start of the game. Before the first inning began, the team circled the pitchers mound, where the late Fernádez’s teammate and rising star in the franchise, Giancarlo Stanton, delivered stirring pre-game speech:
“We’ll all come together and help each other out,” he said. “We’re going to do this somehow. Just put your hand on somebody if somebody is struggling, pick them up. And we’re going to find a way to do this. I love all you guys.”
The pre-game tribute continued with a moving rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” — trust us, you’ve never heard it sung quite like this.
— Emily Waldon (@emilywaldon2080) September 27, 2016
Even the opposing team knew this night was all about Fernández, showing their love and respect for the late pitcher by hanging his jersey in their dugout.
But possibly the most stirring part of the night was a tribute that wasn’t planned. A tribute that left many wondering if something bigger was giving José Fernández the send-off he deserved Monday night.
If you all don’t believe in God, you better start.
Dee Gordon, a left-handed hitter stepped up to the plate at the bottom of the first. With No. 16 etched into his hair, he stepped over the plate to hit from the right side in honor of his late teammate and friend. Make no mistake, the small-framed, 160-pound player is not a power hitter. But, on a 2-0 count from the right side of the plate, Dee Gordon launched his first home run of the season into the upper deck of the stadium.
“I ain’t never hit a ball that far, even in BP. I told the boys, ‘If you all don’t believe in God, you better start.’ For that to happen today, we had some help,” Gordon said of the home run.
— RotoQL (@rotoqlapp) September 26, 2016
After the game had ended, the players and the coaches returned to the field, circling the pitchers mound with their arms linked together to pay their respects.
When they walked off the field, all of their hats were left behind in a pile on José’s pitcher’s mound.
Thanks to Mashable, we discovered that wasn’t the last tribute of the night for their teammate, as the team was seen back on the field after the stadium had cleared out giving José one final toast.
What a finish to the night at Marlins Park. With everyone gone, Marlins players back on to mound w a toast to the sky for Jose Fernandez. pic.twitter.com/vGL57FWWZC
— Will Manso (@WillManso) September 27, 2016
Tributes to the talented pitcher have continued on and off the field. Senator Marco Rubio gave a moving tribute to the late Miami Marlin on the Senate floor.