September 11, 2013—Marlins Park, Miami, FL
We all miss José Fernández. We miss his beaming character and playful nature. We miss the excitement and attitude that he brought to the Marlins organization.
His final game of the 2013 season exemplifies that perfectly.
Fernández pitched seven innings and only gave up one earned run against the Atlanta Braves. A great performance that everybody had grown accustomed to seeing from the young All-Star.
However, what happened in the bottom of the sixth inning was the real headliner.
Fernández was up to bat with two outs. On the second pitch, he slapped the ball hard to left field, UP, UP, UP and AWAY for the first home run of his career! He took a few moments to admire it before leaving the box, then trotted around the bases in pure jubilation, feeding off the roar of cheers from the home crowd.
But after touching all the bags and reaching the plate, Fernández was “greeted” by Braves catcher Brian McCann. Words were exchanged, and the situation escalated into a bench-clearing scuffle. Braves third baseman Chris Johnson was also among those visibly upset with Fernández. He reprimanded the rookie for violating baseball’s unwritten rules that traditionally tell players to celebrate modestly.
After the game, Fernández seemed embarrassed by his actions and was apologetic.
“[McCann] and I are really close,” Fernández said (h/t Joe Frisaro, MLB.com). “Freddie Freeman, too. He told me, ‘Buddy, you can’t do that.’ I told him, ‘I’m sorry, the game got the best of me.’ I was just going to walk away. He was talking to me as a friend, or a dad, teaching a kid. That’s how I felt.”
Brian McCann commented as well.
“He happened to hit a home run and stood there. I just told him you can’t do that. You can get someone hurt. It was just something that didn’t need to happen. He didn’t get aggressive.” McCann then says, “We just looked at each other. I think he realized that he messed up. I think the emotions got the best of him tonight.”
That being said, baseball is more than a competition—it’s about creating memories, and most importantly, having fun.
Thank you, José, for wearing your emotions on your sleeve. We miss you. #JDF16