Tributes Pour In After Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, Dies In Boating Accident - uSports.org
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Tributes Pour In After Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, Dies In Boating Accident Tributes Pour in for Late Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez - ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 14: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Full view

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 14: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Tributes Pour In After Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, Dies In Boating Accident

Yasiel Puigthe Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Cuban-born outfielder, cried Sunday while discussing his relationship with compatriot Jose Fernandez. 

Tributes Pour In After Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez’S DEATH

Puig said he was one of the first to learn of the death of Fernandez, the Miami Marlins right-handed pitcher who died in a boating accident early Sunday morning at the age of 24.

“He was a very good guy and I also liked the way he played baseball, the way he treated his mom and his grandma, his teammates and other ballplayers like myself,’’ said Puig, standing in front of his locker at Dodger Stadium approximately two hours before a game against the Colorado Rockies. “That was the best part of him. That’s what I liked the most about him.’’

The Marlins star and two other men were found dead after their boat was discovered at the entrance of Miami Harbor, said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Lorenzo Veloz. Coast Guard personnel on patrol noticed the boat laying upside down on the north end of a rocky jetty shortly after 3:15 am, Veloz stated at a news conference.

Several of Sunday’s Major League Baseball games began with a moment of silence to honor Fernandez. In addition, dozens of quickly-prepared tributes arose across the country, with Puig and another Cuban outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets, taping makeshift Fernandez jerseys in their respective dugouts.


The weeping Puig talked about his friendship with Fernandez. The 25-year-old said the two became friends in 2013 when they were competing for the National League Rookie-of-the-Year award that Fernandez ultimately won.

“We would joke around a lot,’’ he said. “We had a lot of fun. Sometimes he would throw balls and I would tell him to throw strikes. And I think next time we face Miami and play baseball and he’s not there I’m really going to miss him.’

Fernandez left Cuba for the US at 15, and inspired scores of other MLB players during his time as a player. Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers met Fernandez shortly after Fernandez’s family arrived from Cuba, and moved to Tampa. The pitchers were both top prospects in the Tampa area; McCullers posted a photo to his Twitter account of the two of them as younger men, gripping an ax, perhaps after toppling a tree.

“It’s awful that he’s gone,” said McCullers, according to the Houston Chronicle, “but he lived every day he had to the fullest. I believe that.”

Much like Fernandez, Oakland Athletics first baseman Yonder Alonso was born in Cuba, emigrated to America and attended high school in South Florida, before furthering his education at the University of Miami. The Marlins drafted Fernandez in 2011 and he began playing for them in 2013.

“Miami really leaned on a guy like this,” Alonso told reporters in Oakland on Sunday morning. It’s a blow to the team, the city, everybody. Shocking.”

The loss will surely continue to resonate with several MLB players, especially Cuban-born ones.

At his home stadium, Puig became most emotional when asked if Fernandez had ever provided comfort for him after Puig was demoted to the minors and on the trading block in August despite making the All-Star Game as recently as 2014. Puig added that the last time the two saw each other was when they had dinner together earlier this month during the Dodgers’ three-game series in Miami.

“When we were in Miami, he would constantly give me advice about how to better myself, and this time that we were together he gave me some more advice,’’ he said. “And now I lost him.’’

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said:


Rays star Evan Longoria wrote:


Several MLB teams also expressed their condolences:


Clearly, Fernandez made a huge impact on the sport despite his short career. Fernandez pitched his last game on Tuesday, a 1-0 home victory over the Washington Nationals. The Marlins will next host the Mets for the first matchup of a three-game series on Monday night.

ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 14: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Written by Pablo Mena
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