This was Jose
The awful news came early in the morning to my ears. My spouse woke me up to let me know before I would read it by myself in Twitter. Trying to make this unbelievable and painful news better to grasp and digest.
Still, even with that thoughtful thinking the pain was immense.
Then, the news on TV covering a major boat accident with fatalities. The news anchor visibly hurt but not mentioning his name yet. Twitter exploded. In disbelief and in pain.
Jose Fernandez, our Rookie of The Year, our Twice All Star Game, our Miami Marlins Pitcher died in a boat accident.
I have been a Miami Marlins for many years, right after they started as a Franchise. I was really hooked after the second World Series Championship. That is where I started feeling that connection beyond words and blood with some players, like Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Juan Pierre or Mike Lowell.
But nothing like with this 2016 Miami Marlins Team. Too many favorites to count, besides Jose of course, Realmutto, Dee Gordon, Prado, Bour, Stanton, A.J. Ramos, Yelich, Dietrich, etc. You could see the electricity, the love, the camaraderie in the team. It was not a media o P.R. move. It was true.
On Wednesday morning I come out of the house to run some errands. I had to get out of the house after many tears and many hours reading the internet and watching the TV covering his death and the death of other two other young men that were tragically in the boat with him.
I go to a doctor’s appointment. After that, I decided to stop by a Sports Store. Dick’s Sport is on my way and my heart is telling me to look for something related to the Marlins. Maybe a Flag. Maybe another item. I looked all over and then I found a beautiful embroided flag with the big M in our team colors with a black background. This is the one I think. You are coming home with me. After snooping around for a while I go to the cashier. I forgot to mention that I was wearing a black T-shirt with Stanton 27 in the back that belongs to my spouse because I didn’t have any other black shirt to use, so I took it. (Thanks Love). I also was wearing my Marlins cap, with white and black colors and our big M in the front.
At the cashier, this young woman looks at me and she says, in a normal customer service cashier voice, how are you doing? and I answered ok. She looks at me knowing that I am not ok, because I am not, I look sad obviously and then she starts talking and talking about Jose and Jose’s death. That it is unbelievable, that he was so young, and such a talented pitcher for the Miami Marlins. She even knew some of his stats, like that he was 29-2 at the Marlins Park. I was happily surprise and she even brought a smile to my face and I say to her : ” Wow. You know a lot about Jose and the Miami Marlins”. She responds with a smile, I am sorry, I am not a Marlins fan to tell you the truth but I follow sports and this is simply awful. I paid the flag, that by the way she gave me a discount on it. She wishes me to have a good day. I answered same to you. As I walk out of the store, I hear her voice saying, at least try a little to have a nice day. She knew how I was feeling and how devastating the departure of an idol would be. I have never seen her before thou she cared for my sadness and for the departure of Jose.
My next stop is a drive thru visit to my pharmacy, CVS to pick up some medications, the line is long but I am in the car, so I don’t care too much and honestly I am a little numb for all this happening. Finally I get to the window, the lady taking care of it attends me cordially and leaves the window for a moment to get my meds after checking my name and date of birth. She comes back pretty soon and I started to pay and sign some receipt and I ask her if Daniel is in today? She looks inside and says yes. I tell her, say hi to him from me, thinking that he must be busy. Well, next thing I know he is next to her by the drive thru window extending his hand to shake mine. I am very sorry, I can’t believe it, Jose is gone he says to me. His face looks sad and still in shock. Daniel is one of the nicest people I have ever met in a pharmacy. He is a Miami Marlins fan. Hardcore like me. He talks and talks and repeats all the details that I already know of his accident. I think he knows I know but he needs to say it, I can see that it is therapeutic for him and also for me of course. Again after talking for few minutes, and with nobody behind me in the line, he comes again closer to the drive thru window and shakes my hand and says, he is irreplaceable. What are we going to do without him, he asks me ? it is so sad I say to him, take care he says to me and goes back to work, back to usual business. I drive away. Tears in my eyes again.
Last stop on my morning errands is to stop to get few groceries at Publix. I park, walk to the store and grab my cart. Pick up few things, not many this time and I go to the cashier. I am already at the end ready to pay with the debit card and this lady next to me, asks me “Where you at the Marlins Park last night”?. I get a little surprise because people unless they have seen me before in a store, don’t address me for anything. Almost immediately I register, she has noticed my t-shirt and cap. I am a Marlins Fan. I said no, I wasn’t but I watched it on TV. Devastating I indicate to her. She says that she hasn’t cry this much as well as her husband ever for somebody that it is not family. I tell her that I think that is the issue with Jose, he made himself part of our life, part of our not blood related family that we all carry and love. Next I asked for change of a five dollar bill and the not so enthusiastic cashier tells me that he can’t change it, to go to Customer Service. From here I can see the three lines of the crowded customer service. and I said to myself and to him: “do not worry about it” and I leave with the bagger helping me with the cart. This threw me off and I left without saying bye to the lady that spoke to me about Jose. To that lady that looked sad. To that lady that connected to me because she was connected to him. Amazing.
I wanted and needed to share this with you today because this is what Jose was. I don’t live in Miami therefore you would think not many Marlins fans are here, or people following this news.
But, it is not true. Jose crossed many more frontiers than the ones that brought him to the U.S.A. He crossed counties frontiers, from Miami Dade County, to Broward, to Palm Beach and so on. He also crossed States frontiers when he played in other baseball parks. I don’t know if he ever crossed a frontier outside of the United States, if he visited ever Europe, or Canada or Argentina. Needless to say that I never met him in person, so truly don’t know if he crossed those frontiers or not.
But he needed to cross one more frontier in his short life. He needed to cross “The Last Frontier”. It was written in that book of life that we all have. And he did crossed it on the early hours of Sunday September 25, 2016.
No more frontiers to cross Jose. No more pain and sorrow for you. My faith tells me that we will see you again one day. Then, I will tell you in person and in spirit this same story…who was Jose for us. And we will smile.
LET’S GO FISH!!! LET’S GO JOSE!!!