I'll be honest. I've put this off as long as possible.
The game ended several hours ago, but it still doesn't feel right to deep dive into the action on the diamond on a day like this one.
I got home fairly late from a concert on Saturday night, so I slept in a bit this morning. Out of habit, I flipped on SportsCenter moments after waking. After a few routine highlights, I watched as the camera focused in on Hannah Storm, who clearly had some difficult news to deliver. As she has too many times, Hannah held it together for her audience as she confirmed the passing of Marlins pitcher, Jose Fernandez.
I was floored.
There's no way. He's so young. So talented. So electric on and off the field.
I'll admit that my first thoughts were selfish. José has a family. He's got teammates. It appears he's even got a baby on the way.
But I thought of myself. I thought about how much I've enjoyed watching him pitch over his brief career. How much I've enjoyed watching his dominance, his exuberance and the childlike joy he found a way to exude every time he was near a baseball field. Then I thought about how impossible it seems that we'll never get to see that again. And how much that hurts.
But baseball goes on. As it always does.
And it is with that dark cloud hanging over the proceedings that we watched today's action from Tropicana Field.
Instead of the planned tribute to David Ortiz, we saw a video tribute and a moment of silence for the life and passing of José Fernández. As the camera held on Ortiz's clearly pained face, tears streamed down his cheeks, as it seemed the weight of the loss of his friend had begun to hit home.
It was a tough moment, and rivalries aside, I found it quite difficult to watch.
The game itself wasn't a whole lot more enjoyable, as the Rays managed to record 23 of their 27 outs via strikeout. It was an astonishingly poor performance by Tampa Bay's bats, as Logan Forsythe, Curt Casali, Luke Maile (more on him soon), and someone named Jaff Decker (ironically the name under which I check into motels with hourly rates) managed three strikeouts apiece.
The real coup de grâce came in the top of the 10th inning. With someone named Eddie Gamboa (ironically the name of my online gambling avatar) pitching for our Rays and Dustin Pedroia on base, David Ortiz knocked a liner to center field. Jaff Decker made the throw home to Luke Maile to beat Pedroia by a mile, but alas. Somehow Dustin managed to avoid Luke's tag as well as home plate, and as he tumbled back to redo the latter, the ball slipped out of Maile's glove.
This day seriously sucks. Let's try and make tomorrow a better one, ok you guys?