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Miami Marlins righthanded phenom Jose Fernandez threw his last pitch on Tuesday, September 20th against the Washington Nationals. He completed eight innings and struck out 12 batters from one of Major League Baseball’s best lineups. The kind of game baseball appreciators would have seen for years from the talented kid who was always smiling.
On September 25th, he died tragically in a boating accident. He was 24 years old. Far too young to die. When you least expect it, death and life come together in an ungodly fashion and take a bright young person away. Nearly two years ago, the fine young St. Louis Cardinals talent Oscar Taveras died in a drunk driving car accident. The feeling this morning is eerily similar. A shot to the stomach.
The baseball world lost a true stud. What is a stud? When someone is merely doing their job and it becomes an event to watch them do that job, that person is a stud. When Fernandez pitched, it was an event. Akin to a Saturday night PPV boxing match or playoff game in October.
On July 28th, Fernandez faced the Cardinals for the last time and surrendered 5 runs and lost. A fellow Cuban star connected to Fernandez’s path, Aledmys Diaz, hit a home run off of him. It was a true event to watch the two childhood friends square off. You could take away the other players on the field and leave the pitcher, catcher, and the hitter standing between them at the plate and it would be electrifying entertainment.
There should have been more Fernandez and Diaz showdowns. More back and forth talent contests. Fastballs clocking in close to 100 mph taking their chances with premium bat speed. Man, that’s just tough to swallow.
That is the kicker. We will never know what Fernandez could have been and it’s painful. He had the makings of Felix Hernandez with a dash of Max Scherzer and Carlos Martinez thrown in for good measure. His MLB career will conclude with a 38-17 record, 2.58 ERA, and 589 strikeouts in just 471.1 innings. His ERA+ was 150, which is ridiculously unfair to hitters in any ballpark. He averaged 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
He was the kind of pitcher who made the best hitters in baseball glare back at him after a strikeout as if they were mentally calling the baseball police for the pitcher being especially mean to their bats. Fernandez was a special talent.
More so, he was a budding family man. His young wife is expecting their child and Fernandez couldn’t have been more excited. In an Instagram post showing off his wife’s beautiful baby bump, he talked about the journey a kid would take them on and preached, “family is first.” He wasn’t just a talented athlete. Fernandez had his priorities straight and was a good guy.
He was heavily involved in a charity foundation that fought cancer and raised awareness for its victims called Live Like Bella. He wanted to do good things. This is a guy who saved his mother from drowning when they were defecting from Cuba. It didn’t matter if there was a baseball diamond or not, Fernandez brought his A game every single day of his life.
Now, he is gone. Way too soon. 24 years old isn’t long enough for anyone, but Fernandez made a dent in his short yet robust life.
I’ll remember the fiery competitor that was easy to admire and respect.
I’ll remember the smile that illuminated a packed stadium every time it stretched.
I’ll remember the look on a hitter’s face when he was overmatched by a Fernandez offering.
Most of all, I’ll remember the kid’s heart that seemed larger than life.
Jose Fernandez was on top of the world, and now he is out of it for good.
Take a few moments today. Watch some highlights. Watch him pitch. It will make you feel better about the game of baseball.
Who pissed in the Los Angeles Rams cherrios?
I get it. You leave a city and don’t want to keep playing nice with what is now in the past. When the Rams got up and left St. Louis on January 12th, something was cut and dropped that had been stable for 20 years. Saying nice things about St. Louis wouldn’t be in the cards but I don’t understand why the Rams are taking a giant shit on their former residence now. It’s not classy. It’s bush league. It’s a batch of bullshit.
Before the Rams open up the 2016 season with no quarterback and the same boring offensive game plan with aspirations for a lovely 5-10 finish, let me remind the organization of something. The Rams won a Super Bowl in St. Louis. Remember. Back in 1999. They went to another Super Bowl and lost in the closing seconds. St. Louis was where the Rams found their most sustainable run of success in the franchise’s history. Most of that history is utter shit. In St. Louis, they created the Greatest Show on Turf.
All they will have in Los Angeles is quarterbacks heads banging on the turf and lots of useless penalties, field goal gold star stickers, and lifeless moments where fans wonder what they are watching on the field. It will be like the good old days. Back in 1946, when the Rams formulated in LA in the first place. Anyone remember? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
The Rams gathered in LA and played there for nearly 50 years before moving to St. Louis. During that time, they participated in many NFL championships and even won it in 1951. After another 1955 championship appearance, they wouldn’t see sustained playoff success until the 1970’s, culminating in a Super Bowl loss to the Steelers in 1979. They made the playoff 16 times from 1960-1989 but didn’t win the Super Bowl. That happened in St. Louis.
In 1999, against all odds, the Rams came out of nowhere and outscored, beat up, and dished knuckle sandwich specials to the NFL in route to a ring. When can fans expect that in LA? Any time soon is not the correct answer.
As much as Stan Kroenke deserves the visceral shit stain thoughts, Kevin Demoff is a real Harvey Two Face here. After telling St. Louis and local radio talent that the Rams were doing whatever was needed to stay in the Lou, he immediately started trashing us the moment the plane landed out west. I did say “us”. I am a St. Louis native so pardon me if I don’t act 100 % professional and not included “us”. We got screwed together here after all.
From the proposal statement that trashed St. Louis’ market and economic profitability to the outgoing messages on social media to LA reporters about bad it was in St. Louis, this is just a lack of class that one doesn’t see that often. I don’t remember St. Louis doing this in 1995.
All you need to know someone is to see how they act when change occurs. Messy change. The true colors of Kroenke were known years ago before he ever staged his attack on St. Louis football. Demoff and others is the colors that are now blooming like a stinky turd left out in the summer heat. It’s unfortunate and relentlessly arrogant.
The Rams have no quarterback and a head coach that hasn’t won anything since My Space was the hot fuzz on the internet. The last time Jeff Fisher won anything, flip phones were cool. The last time the Rams won in Los Angeles, Pedro Guerrero played first base for the Cardinals. I hope they go 0-16.
If anyone in LA really believes that the ownership’s unique ability to shit on a fan base will change simply because their mailing address did, think again. Watch an action film. The plot will be the same brand of ridiculousness but the happy ending will be better.
Let me make this perfectly clear. The Rams won a Super Bowl in St. Louis. That won’t happen in Los Angeles anytime soon. Trash The Lou all you want but it won’t change your approval ratings or record.
In case you missed it on We Are Live Radio’s Live Blog.