There was that solemn mood in the clubhouse of the New York Mets. It was not a loss Sunday afternoon to the Philadelphia Phillies as the Mets handled business and scored 17-runs which tied for the eighth most runs scored in franchise history.
Yes, the Mets the Mets took three of four games from the lowly Phillies. And in their last home game of the season they sent fans home happy. The Mets are holding a slim half-game lead for the top wild card spot in the National League and headed to Miami where they are being placed in a tough situation.
Baseball and the mood in Miami the next few days won’t be the same. The game lost a young star, 24-year old Marlins righthander Jose Fernandez in the wee hours of Sunday morning off the coast of Miami due to a boating accident.
You can ask many reasons why? Why has someone who had superstar stardon all over him been taken away at such a young age, and from the game of baseball. That answer is left to those who know more about life than the game. The Marlins are hurting more, as Jose Fernandez was the face of their franchise and epitomized the hope for all that left Cuba and came to America for opportunity.
So the Mets, who are in the midst of a wild of wild card races., and with another win packed their bags. But there was this feeling in the clubhouse that playing the Marlins was not that important. The games go on, as Mets manager Terry Collins said, “There will be a plan tomorrow. There is still a lot at stake.”
“To honor him, (Fernandez) we are going to go out and play the game right.”
Fernandez, as those who knew him said, would have wanted it that way to keep playing. The ballgames are crucial now in late September and though the Marlins chances to reach the postseason dwindle by the day, with seven games remaining, Jose Fernandez was going to be that ace on the mound who would eventually get his team to play more baseball in many years ahead when October arrived.
It was evident in that Mets clubhouse. They were in mourning as they packed their bags and headed to Miami. The hurt will be more evident Monday night when they look at the pitcher’s mound as see that Jose Fernandez is not throwing strikes against them.
Fernandez, 2-0 against the Mets this season with 1.34 ERA. was scheduled to start the opening game of a series, one of six games remaining in this last week of a season that will come down to the wire.
“We all know how charismatic he was ,” said Yoenis Cespedes through a translator in the Mets clubhouse. He only knew his fellow Cuban countryman on the field, also knowing what an impact Fernandez made on the mound in such a brief time.
Mets owner Jeff Wilpon approached Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera prior to the game about placing a Mets jersey with number 16 on the wall in the Mets dugout. It was there after the two Mets made sure it was secured.
The Mets mourned over the jersey, even though it did not have the Marlins imprint. Cespedes said the jersey will also be in the dugout at game time tomorrow night.
“Want everyone to know how much of a loss this is to us”” Cespedes said. “It may be another tough day tomorrow. That’s his town,” he said about Fernandez and the outpouring of sympathy that will take place the next few days in Miami.
Jose Reyes through a Mets spokesperson would not comment, after a four- RBI day. Asdrubal Cabrera with a grand slam in the seventh inning, his 34rd home run of the season was brief with his comments. There was more emphasis on how the Mets would handle the emotion down in Miami and their focus on these next six games that will determine if they return to the postseason a second consecutive year.
Normally this would have been a day to get the comments about the game. Jay Bruce appears to be fighting out of his doldrum since arriving New York, and coming off a home run Saturday night he had two more hits. But the emphasis was the Mets emotions as they head to Miami.
“It’s very sad,” T.J. Rivera said about the Fernandez tragedy. “We are going to have to fight through it and find a way to get a win. Our prayers are with his family, his friends and loved ones Looking forward to the race but going to be tough because it’s a tough situation every time you lose somebody. We wish the best for the, but these last few games are important to us.”
Yes baseball is mourning one of their own, as are the Mets who know something about the loss of a colleague. More so, a Latino baseball player who struggled to get to the top will be grieved in Miami and a race for the wildcard will temporarily take a back seat.
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