CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Perspective can come in many shapes in sizes. But sometimes it can be delivered in the worst and most unwanted of ways.
The Cleveland Indians’ locker room, generally filled with the buzz associated with a team in the thick of a pennant race, was far more somber and silent after news of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death was revealed early Sunday morning.
A handful of players in the clubhouse gathered to watch the news unfold on the television, and others were far more reserved than you would typically see, even after a short turnaround from playing a game the night before.
“It definitely gives you a moment to take a step back to realize what’s going on and what’s important, and to appreciate a little bit more of the little things that are going on,” second baseman Jason Kipnis said. “Or, seeing familiar faces every day. It’s just awful.”
Fernandez, 24, had grown into one of baseball’s brightest young stars.
Losing an ambassador to the game at such a young age due to a tragic boating accident added to the shock and left many searching for words to describe the emotions felt after learning of the news.
“We get so consumed with baseball, but on a personal level, man it just kind of feels like you get punched in the stomach a little bit,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I can’t imagine how they feel. From afar, I know how we feel. You just hope that the family and the players and the friends, that they can gather some strength wherever they can get it, because [it is] hard to figure.”
The Marlins cancelled Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves, and several other clubs — including the Indians — are expected to observe a moment of silence prior to their matchups throughout the afternoon.
“It’s a tragic day,” Kipnis said. “It’s awful news. He was one of the better guys in the entire league, not only as a pitcher. I didn’t really know him off the field, but I always heard good things about him. You just feel sorry for his family and friends. You feel sorry for their organization. And you feel sorry for the game of baseball, because it lost one of the better pitchers today.”
Several players also shared their emotions over Fernandez’s passing on Twitter: