The tragic passing of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez is understandably the news of the day. Fernandez, just 24, died early Sunday morning following a boating accident in Miami.
The news of his death broke shortly after 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, and SportsCenter immediately pivoted its programming to cover the tragedy. As part of that coverage, ESPN brought on an emotional Eduardo Perez to provide his perspective on Fernandez’s passing.
Beyond his experience as an MLB player and an ESPN analyst, Perez had a unique insight to Fernandez and his impact on the city of Miami. Perez served as the Marlins hitting coach from 2011-12, and it is clear that although Fernandez did not make the big league club until 2013, Perez kept in touch with both him and Miami over the years.
The story of Fernandez leaping in the ocean to save his mother, who had fallen overboard on their journey from Cuba to America, is one that will get retold again and again in remembrance of his life. Perez tells this story excellently, and he makes sure to include the added fact that Fernandez did not even know it was his mother at the time. He thought he was risking his life for a perfect stranger, but that did not matter, he selflessly risked it anyway.
Fernandez was more than just a great pitcher, he was a great human being. He will be sorely missed.