Sometimes a home run can mean much more than just another notch on the scoreboard. Just ask Dee Gordon and the Miami Marlins.
Reeling from the tragic and untimely death of 24-year-old pitching star José Fernández in a boating accident off Miami Beach over the weekend, Gordon hit a homer on his third pitch of the first inning in their game against the New York Mets, his first of the season. As he rounded the bases, you could see the uncapping of emotions from the fans and the players that lost a truly bright and great young star and person.
“I ain’t never hit a ball that far, even in BP,” Gordon told USA Today. “I told the boys, ‘If you all don’t believe in God, you better start.’ For that to happen today, we had some help,” he said, mentioning how he tried to imitate the late pitcher’s own batting stance not long after the team’s pre-game tribute to the fallen pitcher who announced his girlfriend was pregnant just a few days earlier. “I just hope he’s happy. I hope he’s good because we love him so much.”
The Marlins went on to win 7-3 against the New York Mets. After the game, the players kneeled around the pitching mound and left their caps in remembrance of Fernández. The night will in no way fill the massive hole in the hearts of Miami’s players and fans, but it was a little light in a dark time. A tribute to a person gone far too early. A baseball player who could have been one of the greats, and person whose entire life was ahead of him.