It’s September 26, 2016. We’re at Marlins Park in Miami with Bartolo Colon pitching for the Mets in the bottom of the 1st. With no runs on the board, the Marlins leadoff hitter Dee Gordon waits for the 2-0 pitch.
On paper, the stakes are ... low. No championship up for grabs, only three outs into the game. But this next pitch will become part of a moment so much more impactful than even a World Series would be for Miami.
You likely remember what led up to this game. José Fernández was involved in a boating accident the previous morning. The Marlins cancelled their game that day as they grieved and attempted to figure out how they would return to the game that their brother had loved more than anything. He had gone through more than most in his journey to the big league (it wasn’t until his fourth attempt that he successfully defected from Cuba) and had brought a joy to the sport that was appreciated by the entire league.
The city of Miami was still trying to process what happened when the Marlins took the field. And while tributes were paid throughout the night, it was Gordon’s that we remember best. To appreciate something that’s bigger than one game, or sports in general, we need to rewind.