MIAMI -- No. 16 was everywhere during Monday night's 7-3 Marlins win over the Mets. Each Miami player had it on the back of his black uniform top.Nothing has been officially announced, but it just might be the last time we see a Marlins player wear No. 16."I don't see
MIAMI -- No. 16 was everywhere during Monday night's 7-3 Marlins win over the Mets. Each Miami player had it on the back of his black uniform top.
Nothing has been officially announced, but it just might be the last time we see a Marlins player wear No. 16.
"I don't see anyone wearing that number," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said.
Whether to retire the No. 16 or not is a topic for another time, another day. Foremost on Monday was keeping José Fernández's memory in the hearts of the players, coaches and members of the Miami community.
:: Jose Fernandez: 1992-2016 ::
Fernandez died with two friends in a boating accident early Sunday morning, and the loss of the 24-year-old superstar has left the baseball world numb.
After their game with the Braves on Sunday was cancelled, the Marlins opened a three-game series with the Mets on Monday at Marlins Park.
The Marlins entered the series mathematically alive in the National League Wild Card chase, but they have little margin for error in the final week. If necessary, they will make up the cancelled game next Monday in Miami. But if the game has no impact on the postseason races, Miami's season will finish at 161 games.
As the organization grieves, Loria said the club is going to keep pushing forward.
"It makes you work harder," Loria said. "We're not quitting. I'm going to forever be hearing him, 'Do what you have to do, but keep it going.' We're not going to walk away. We're going to keep it going."
Fernandez's powerful personality and his passion for the game made him one of the brightest young stars in the sport.
"You may never see anyone like him again," Loria said.
Former Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre, Fernandez's teammate in 2013, said the death has left a hole in the organization.
"It's just a sad situation, when you think of heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching -- when you think of all Jose meant to the city of Miami," Pierre said.
In 2013, Pierre's final season, Fernandez was not expected to make the Opening Day roster. Actually, he was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville, but due to injuries to Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez, Fernandez was added to the roster the day before the season opened.
At age 20 in 2013, Fernandez was an NL All-Star and won the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
"I think back, just seeing him on the plane, when no one knew he was on the team," Pierre said. "To his first start against the Mets, and how full of life he was. He just loved people. That's why I think everybody's hearts are breaking. People who don't even watch baseball are texting me, like, 'I feel so badly, because of the person [he was].'"
Team president David Samson noted that Fernandez's memory will not be forgotten.
"Jose Fernandez, all he was, was a Marlin," Samson said. "Jose Fernandez, when you talk about what he means for this franchise, and what he meant for this franchise, I am unwilling to use the past tense.
"I'm physically unwilling to use the past tense. It's what he means to this franchise. That meaning doesn't end yesterday or today. When generations of people come to Marlins games, they will always know Jose was a Marlin."
Manager Don Mattingly offered a reminder that Fernandez's loss touches so many, including the families of the two other men killed off Miami Beach on Sunday.
"It's been hard; it's been really hard," Mattingly said. "I think, at this time, we always look at how we feel. It's more important how Jose's mom and grandmother feel, and the families nobody really talks about at this moment. There are two other families that are probably crushed and hurting. I think our entire organization feels for all of the families.
"We're trying to handle it whichever way is best for each guy. I don't think we're trying to handle it other than we love Jose and the way he played, and his passion for the game, and his energy for it. I think our guys want to honor that."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com.