Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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The baseball world received some unfathomably horrible news on Sunday, when we learned that Jose Fernandez had passed away after a boating accident early Sunday morning. Our thoughts are all with his family and loved ones, as this is a shocking loss of a man who has touched so many. On a smaller level, we are all affected. Obviously, Fernandez was a dynamic talent on the field. Although he just turned 24 in 2016, he already had 76 starts under his belt and had pitched to a marvelous 2.58 ERA (150 ERA+). He had one of the most mesmerizing breaking balls in baseball that helped him rack up more than 11 strikeouts per nine innings. The talent was undeniable, and the potential was limitless.
Still, though, his achievements on the field are not what he should or will be remembered for. More than anything else, Fernandez was the personification of joy on a baseball field. He may have been the pitcher most fans looked forward to watching, and it’s not just because of the way he made opponents flail. His smile and constant elation was absolutely contagious, and it made us remember why most of us fell in love with baseball in the first place. It’s fun. When we were kids playing the game, before we got to any serious level of competition, it was about having a blast trying to compete. Nobody brought me back to that feeling more than Fernandez. It’s easy to be cynical about sports as you get older, particularly in this age of Twitter. Fernandez made us forget about all that and his attitude was improbably and wonderfully infectious.
You don’t just need to take my word for it, though. The league as a whole was in utter shock over the news. Players, coaches, and teams reacted from all corners of MLB, and the themes were similar. Sure, they mentioned the talent, but his contagious personality was a larger theme from his teammates and opponents.
- Eduardo Perez grew close to Fernandez over the years, and his remembrance on ESPN was heartbreakingly poignant.
- Fernandez’s entire story is worth remembering, from his journey to this country, to his antics on the field to those he leaves behind.
- As Dan Le Batard can attest to, Fernandez was an inspiration and hero to Cuban-Americans everywhere, and particularly in South Florida.
- It’s fair to describe him as a hero to us all, though, even if it’s in a much different way.
- Ben Lindbergh reflects on not only the transcendent talent, but Fernandez’s transcendent personality.
- For some, it’s silly to think about trivial baseball games at a time like this. For others, the trivial baseball games are never more important. They help us forget about the real world, even for just a few fleeting moments. If you’re in the latter group, these last few links are for you.
- The regular season is still going, and the postseason still awaits, but it’s not too early for a prospect list.
- Vin Scully's final game at Dodger Stadium ended exactly as it should have.
- New York has been on the search for a true Derek Jeter replacement for a couple years now, but Didi Gregorius may just fill that void.
- Boston pitchers had a pretty decent collective performance on Sunday.
- The Nationals clinches their division, and Bryce Harper celebrated with some real championship gear.