Sometimes sports write a story better than Hollywood ever could. That happened on Monday when Dee Gordon stepped to the plate for the Miami Marlins and hit his first home run of the season.
Gordon is not a home run hitter — he’s now hit just nine in nearly 550 career games — but the emotional scene at Marlins Park had nothing to do with that. The Marlins spent the pregame honoring Jose Fernandez who died in a tragic boating accident on Sunday. The scene was about as emotional as you’ll ever see prior to a professional sporting event. The entire team wore No. 16 jerseys and gathered around the pitcher’s mound, many overcome with emotion.
The first pitch was eventually thrown, but the tributes and emotions didn’t stop there. When Gordon stepped to the plate to start the bottom of the first inning, he did so wearing a helmet with Fernandez’s number on it. The left-handed Gordon also stepped into the opposite batter’s box and took the first pitch right-handed in honor of Fernandez.
Then, two pitches later, he did this.
As Gordon rounded the bases, Marlins teammates smacked the top railing, one of Fernandez’s signature celebrations. It all made for an emotional and unbelievable scene. Gordon became extremely emotional as he pointed up to the sky.
It was a tragedy to lose Fernandez so soon. Somehow, someway the Marlins managed to play a baseball game on Monday — after all Fernandez would have wanted it that way. And in doing so, they created a surreal moment right out of a storybook.
After the game, Gordon talked about the Fernandez, the emotion of the game and more. He described the home run as the best experience of his life.