44°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Baseball World Shaken By Loss of Young Star

Jose+Fernandez
Jose Fernandez

This past Sunday, the baseball world suffered an incredible tragedy. Twenty-four-year-old Miami Marlins ace, Jose Fernandez, was killed in a boating accident along with two friends around 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. The sudden news of the loss of one of Major League Baseball’s brightest young stars has shaken the league, players, fans, and game itself to its very core. As we reflect on the impactful but unfortunately brief career of Fernandez as both a proud Cuban and adopted American, we should also understand the tragic events that took place which led to the budding star’s demise.

At some point late Saturday evening/early Sunday morning, Fernandez got into an argument with his girlfriend Maria Arias, who is pregnant with their daughter, due in the next few months.

Fernandez made attempts to bring fellow Marlins teammates out with him on his boat, such as outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna refused, and confirmed that if he hadn’t heard from Fernandez by 10 a.m, he would call and make sure he got to the ballpark for that afternoon’s game.

After Fernandez’s attempts to bring teammates out, he then turned to his friends Eddy Rivero and Emilio Macias to join him on his late-night boat trip. Rivero was in contact with his friend, Will Bernal, who urged him to be careful and keep Fernandez safe. Rivero tried to set Bernal’s mind at ease by telling him, “Trust me, it’s not my time yet.”

Fernandez and Rivero made a stop at the American Social, a dockside restaurant and bar that Macias lived near. With Macias now aboard the vessel, the three friends started out on the late night trip. Not much is known after that, exceptt that no alcohol or drugs were found on the boat; toxicology reports are in the works.

The most important thing to keep in mind while investigating such an event is that these three young men lost their lives tragically. And one of the men that lost his life was one of the most talented young players in baseball.

Jose Fernandez was a simple man, who had achieved his dream of playing professional baseball. That dream did not come cheap. It took Fernandez four attempts to successfully defect from Cuba. During the first two tries he was caught and arrested, the third he was forced to turn around. On the fourth he made it, but had to save his mother from drowning in the middle of the voyage. Fernandez made it all the way to the Marlins by 2013, and would go on to win the National League Rookie of The Year award.

He suffered an injury early the next season that would cause him to miss the remainder of the year, and most of the next season as well. Fernandez then returned with a vengeance this year, owning a record of 16-8, a 2.86 ERA, and 253 strikeouts, allowing his team to compete for a playoff spot. Fernandez, in his four seasons, will leave behind a career record of 38-17, and a 2.58 ERA. This young star had certainly made it clear in his short time that he was well on his way to not only being one of the best pitchers in baseball of his time, but also one of the best the sport had ever seen.

In the aftermath of Fernandez’s tragic demise, he leaves behind a legacy that transcends national borders. As a man that stopped at nothing to achieve his goals, he will prove to be an inspiration for future players defecting from their countries. He has proven that achieving greatness is not impossible just because you are forced to overcome tremendous obstacles in your lifetime. The Miami Marlins decided that these qualities were impossible to overlook, and his commitment to the sport of baseball and the Marlins organizations earned him exclusive rights to the number 16 on the team, as the team has opted to retire his jersey, making the number unavailable to any new players.

Jose Fernandez has left a lasting impact on his sport, the team and city he played for, his peers in the sport, his home and adopted countries, and his friends and family, including a mother and grandmother that meant the world to him, a loving girlfriend, and daughter on the way. Fernandez made the most of his life, set an example for his daughter, and left a lesson that anybody could benefit from. That lesson is that no dream is too big and they are within reach as long as you are trying. Life is too short to think about what could have been.
Rest in peace, Jose Fernandez. You will be missed.