In the wake of Florida Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death in a boating accident Sunday morning, many Major League Baseball clubs pulled quick tributes together to honor the 24-year-old rising star. Many teams hung jerseys adorned with the Fernandez name in their dugouts during Sunday’s games, while others wore decals with the No. 16.
The Atlanta Braves did something even better.
After Sunday’s game was canceled in Miami, the Braves lent their team buses to the Marlins so the players and coaches could travel together to the home of Fernandez’s family, according to Palm Beach Post writer Matt Porter. It was a small gesture, but it gave the entire team a chance to immediately go to the family’s home and be with Jose’s loved ones.
In times like these, a rivalry means so little. MLB is a fraternity, and the Braves may have gotten off to a rocky start with Fernandez, but by all accounts, they became much tighter with the young star in recent years – so much so that several of Atlanta’s players were also noticeably devastated when they learned the horrible news on Sunday.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Utter disbelief, shock. Hoping to wake up from this nightmare. One of the best people I’ve ever met. Unbelievable competitor. It was a treat for me to be able to get to know him over the last few years.”
As a Braves fan, it’s nice to know the Braves played a small role in trying to make the Marlins’ awful Sunday a little less awful.Follow @Sean_Breslin