Last night was a very difficult and emotional night for the Miami Marlins, who were playing their first game after the tragic death of Jose Fernandez. The Mets found themselves in a difficult position, having to play (and attempt to defeat) the Marlins while they are clearly mourning their friend and teammate. But regardless of what happened during the game, the Marlins appreciated the Mets’ support and respect before the game at Marlins Park.
After the ceremony honoring Fernandez, the Mets players and coaches lined up to offer their condolences to the Marlins. Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon—who led off the game with an emotional home run—thanked the Mets for being ‘first class’ in their actions on Monday night.
“I want to say thank you to the Mets. They're first class. Baseball is a family and that was amazing for them to do. We didn't expect that," said Gordon.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton specifically singled out Jacob deGrom as a player that went above and beyond, citing his surgically repaired right arm in a large cast still being offered for embrace. “I was trying to keep it together and I saw deGrom with his big old arm cast. He couldn't really move it, but he was still reaching his arm to make us feel better.“
He went on to say, “I can't believe how they acted and treated us. I know it's extremely tough on their side. They're in the playoff race, too, and they've got to still understand and take this game for what it was. I appreciate everything they did. You'd never think a few hugs would be that big, but that was huge for them.”
There was visible emotion on the faces of many Mets during the pre-game ceremony, as well as during the game; there appeared to be extra pats on the back, arms around shoulders, and genial conversation happening on the field during the game. Travis d’Arnaud spoke of his own tears after Gordon’s home run, and other Mets players seemed to be fighting back tears as well. Even the Mets’ television announcers were caught up in the emotion of the night.
As Stanton noted, the Mets’ position in the playoff race made the game especially awkward for them. If they were safely in playoff position or out of the race, the game would probably have been even less competitive than it wound up being. Because of the playoff implications, the Mets had to play a little harder than they probably wanted to last night.
The Mets, due to a Cardinals loss and a Giants day off, still remain in the first Wild Card spot in the standings.