Monday, August 26, 2013


The subject matter of this post may leave some of you cold for it appears to  have a sports theme when in actuality, it has mostly a human theme. 

The Miami Marlins baseball team have not had much to crow about this year. We are in rebuilding mode and have a field full of talented  rookies, but still rookies. 

I won't bore you with the Marlin's win/loss record, just trust me, it isn't pretty. However, what has been pretty and absolutely delightful this year has been Jose Fernandez.  I won't go into his amazing stats, his perfect All Star performance, his Rookie of the Year possibilities,  nor emphasize that he just last month turned 21 years old. Just know he is an amazingly talented baseball phenom. 

Watching him pitch this year has been such a blessing in a bleak season. But,what is equally as fun is to watch is him when he doesn't play. This is a delightful kid, every mom's son or the son every woman wish she had. No attitude or  puffed up feelings of self importance though he would not be blamed it he had those. He is that good of a player. What he has is a kid's joy of the game and the confident talent of a Hall of Fame quality seasoned pro. 

The story of how he got here is most amazing.  Jose was born in Cuba. His step father defected to the US before the rest of the family and settled in Tampa. With a home base set up by the step dad, Jose and his mom attempted the harrowing trip. Three times they unsuccessfully  tried to defect, caught each time.  Once shots were fired over their heads to turn them back. The kid was thrown in jail each time with hardened criminals after the captures but they didn't stop trying. 

The fourth time they tried, they were successful though the trip was quite rough. At one point Jose heard a yell that a person had fallen over board. He didn't hesitate and jumped in the shark filled, rough waters for the rescue and was stunned to find the person in the water was his mother. Ok, that would make a good movie and  probably some day, I think it will.

Jose entered a Tampa high school, taking  3 English classes a day to learn the language. He now speaks perfect English. He helped to take his school's baseball team to a state championships twice. 

In 2011 the Marlins drafted the talented young man. Due to pitching woes and injuries to our regular pitching staff this year, he was brought up to the pros ahead of schedule at the age of 20.

His talent is undeniable but it is the boy's heart and attitude that has me so impressed.  He is a happy kid, with a huge grin, who loves his life, baseball and will talk to anyone willing.

When it is not his day to pitch, he is on the rail as the team's #1 cheerleader. When pitching, he is a consummate pro between the lines but open and laughing with teammates between innings or can be found picking  the brains of everyone from coaches to veterans. 

His pure joy for the game and delightful grin is infectious. He lifts his whole team plus the fan base.

But the young man is more than talent and personality. He gives back at an age when most guys are just wanting to make a mark and a buck. He is actively  involved in the Marlin's Community Charity.  

Jose stays after each game to sign autographs for the fans and posing for pictures. When you look on the empty field at games end, he is the only one with his cluster of grateful fans. Some pros will sign autographs before the game but afterwards they usually head for the showers after a hard evening's work. Not Jose.  

He also enjoys the after game concerts and fireworks. Things most pro athletes ignore though lately it seems, several of the pros are joining him. These are thrills and first time events for him and he plans to miss nothing. His enthusiasm is contagious.   When you start to see things through his eyes, you realize this life in the USA, that we too often take for granted, is pretty darn wonderful. 

He makes even wore out, jaded old gals like me see things in a better, brighter light. I so look forward to his pitching day. For me it is a can't miss event with lots of warm smiles and proud feelings.  

Sadly because he is so young, the team will limit his work load this year and will shut him down sometime in early Sept at 170 innings. That means about 2, maybe 3 more starts. I am all for this protective policy towards youngsters but I will sorely miss his starts. 

If he comes into your viewing range, even if you don't care for baseball, give him a look. You won't be sorry. This talented young man is history in the making and a person you will find impossible not to like. 


  1. Patti I am a HUGE baseball fan and have enjoyed following Jose's story this year. He's having one of the best rookie season's I've ever seen. My favorite team (Reds) has a defector who escaped Cuba as well (Aroldis Chapman). Amazing stories eh?

  2. Not being a baseball fan, I hadn't watched him or known anything about him. Patti, you usually turn me on to interesting things, and this is no exception. He is a blessing to our country! Thanks for filling me in about him. Wow! He's going places, isn't he? :-)

  3. Patti
    That IS a special story. A very good looking person, too. You can see the determination and good will in his face. You're right, there is s success story in the making.

  4. He is an inspiration and wonderful role model for young men. With his talent and outlook I am sure he will go far.

  5. What a truly amazing and inspirational story! You don't see many sports players who have special qualities like this young man.

  6. It is great to read an uplifting story about a young person with positive values and such talent. Our young people especially need positive role models like this guy.

  7. He makes the "Statue of Liberty" come alive. He is living the dream of what this great country is all about!!

  8. The only thing I know about baseball is that it is played on a diamond. But this young man's story is so inspirational. What a delightful post this morning. Makes me happy just reading about a success for a talented young person who isn't jaded and puffed up. Good read for sure. Oma Linda

  9. I'm not a baseball fan, but this is a wonderful story of a sincerely good young man. Thanks for introducing me to such a sweetheart.

  10. I'll definitely look for him. Great story.

  11. This is such a cool story. Thanks for sharing it. He could have been "one of my kids" with a story like that. I taught kids like Jose English when I taught ESL. (English as a second language.). He typifies so many of my students: hard workers, dedicated to making a better life for themselves, loyal to family, loyal to supporters, givers, and humble grateful human beings.

  12. I don't have TV, or follow baseball at the national level, so was unaware of this wonderful young man. Thank you for bring him to the forefront.
    My bleacher butt only extends to high school & college...

  13. Great tribute! Makes me want to meet him and watch him play!

  14. What a great story about such an incredible young man.. So many celebrities --including those in professional sports, are NOT good role models for our kids.. This man certainly is. I hope he stays that way FOREVER...

    Thanks for sharing Jose's story for us.

  15. What a wonderfully inspiring story!

    Thanks for sharing this heart warming post.

  16. Wow ...I am a fan of his now ...what an amazing ...and handsome ... young man.I hope his life contiues to grow posatively ...he deserves it ...and that he can avoid all the bad influences that are around. I know nothing about American sports but when he is older and wins something huge ...I hope they make a film of his determination. xx

  17. What a beautiful (inside & out) young man!!

  18. What an amazing story of this talented, determined, very handsome young athlete. I hope they do make a movie about his life. Well... he's still young so maybe they could wait a while. I'm not a sports fan, but I really enjoyed this post. Thanks, Patti!

  19. What a wonderful heart warming and inspirational story. With all that talent and good looking too. I do not watch baseball but if I get the chance to see him play I sure will. After reading this it would be most exciting and enjoyable to watch him play. Thank you so much sweet Patti for sharing this I sure enjoyed reading it. Hugs

  20. What an amazing story. The passage over to the U.S. had to be harrowing. How inspiring that he is so positive. He is great material for a movie or book or both.

  21. Keith,
    I am so glad you are also aware of this young man. He really is a joy to watch.
    100 mph Chapman is also amazing to watch---- if he is not playing us. Cuba really has some super stars in the majors.

    His future right now is only bright and knows no limits.

    Thanks. It is right there in his face isn't it.

    He is the kind of role model that is largely missing in sports right now.

    You are right. The talent is usually there, the good heart is sometimes missing.

    Sometimes the sports headlines make me grateful I have no impressionable aged children. We need many more like this young man.

    You are so right. This is what our country is built on. It restores one's faith.

    Linda Wildenstein,
    I know. Our home grown athletes too often feel entitled.

    Ah, that was the word I was looking for--"sweetheart. That he is.

    Thanks. He does not disappoint.

    You described him perfectly. Perhaps it takes outside eyes looking in to properly appreciate what this country has to offer. I am so glad you got to enjoy many like him.

    I am always impressed by "no TV." Someday I hope to break the habit.
    My bleacher butt is couch bound.

    Nan Talley,
    Thanks, I hope you get the chance.

    I know-- the news is full of the arrests, drug use and even murder by pro athletes. He is a breath of fresh air.

    Thank you so much. So glad you enjoyed.

    Sadly there is a lot of stuff in our sports that is not at all wholesome. I believe he will be strong enough to stay clean. At least the kids have a good role model in him.

    You are so right and it is so refreshing.

    I do believe it will make a good movie on the order of the "Blind Side." Someone who overcomes the odds to excel.

    Thanks and I do hope you get the chance. I have no doubt he will be around for a long time.

    I agree. It would be the type of movie I would love to see. Lets hope.

  22. Love this! I will watch for him. My husband is always telling me tales about golfers and baseball players. I will have my own to contribute. Thanks! :)

  23. I am not a baseball fan, but I love nice young men like him. I do hope they make that movie!

  24. This young man sounds like a GEM of a man!!! I have little-to-no interest in watching baseball, but....BUT.....your Jose makes me want to See The Marlins, Right Now! He is inspiring, on every level!!!!

  25. I hope he does well because he is all a real "sports hero" should be, and a great role model for kids.

  26. Thank you for this wonderful story of a brave, determined young man who would be a star in kind of sport. That is his character. He is simply admirable.
    Have a great week, Patti!
    Wil,ABCW Team

  27. Dear Arkansas Patti, thank you for alerting us to the joy of watching this young man delight in life and the game he can play so well.

    I used to be--for many, many years--a real baseball fan.Then the strike came in the late '90s and I became disillusioned with the players. I read Bob Costos' book on baseball and what needed to be done but none of that has happened.

    So I need postings like yours to jumpstart me into watching the games again. Or listening on the radio. Thank you for this. I'll watch for Jose Fernandez and follow his career. He's exactly the kind of young man/player baseball needs right now. Peace.

  28. Such an inspirational post that I'm sending your blog on to my Red Sox fan husband to enjoy.

  29. A very neat profile. Lets hope lots of money soon to come his way doesn't change him in bad way as it has to so many professional athletes....

  30. Mary Lee,
    Ah ha, maybe you can one up him now with this one. Glad to help.

    I hope so too. He really is a special one in sports.

    Oh, I hope you get the chance. He gives me faith in the athlete after all the bad press they have gotten lately.

    Couldn't agree with you more. The kids today need someone as a role model that is drug free and not in the headlines for wrong doings.

    Reader Wil,
    You are right. Even if he didn't play sports, he would be an exceptional young man.

    I agree. It has been hard to get behind a lot of the athletes with the negative press they have gotten lately. There are many good ones but till now, they didn't get the notice. Hope that changes.

    Hope he enjoys the post. As we are a National League, bottom feeding, small market team, he may not have heard of Jose.

    Oh I hope not. Hopefully he is grounded enough by his struggles to get here that it won't effect him. I know--- that is asking a lot.

  31. Patti, I'm hopeless about sports! However, I do love a human interest story. Some people are natural survivors - sounds like he's one of them. It's great when an athlete can provide a good example for young people.

  32. What a great, great story. I will not forget this young man.

  33. Barb,
    It really is a human interest story. His will to excel and to be an asset is so strong.

    Thank you, I know he is stuck in my head.

  34. I'm so behind on blog reading! And so glad I didn't miss this wonderful story. You have told it so well, too. He is an amazing young man. Handsome, too! I hope to get to see him pitch sometime. It sounds like he has a great career ahead of him. I certainly hope so. Thanks, Patti, for sharing his story. I hadn't heard of him and will be asking my hubby and son if they know of him.
    Enjoy your holiday weekend!

  35. As a youngster I was a big Boston Red Sox fan but haven't followed it for years. You have inspired me to give it a whirl again and especially to follow Jose's career.

  36. My sport interest mainly revolves around playing ball with our cat, who does so love chasing ping pong balls around! I found the story of Jose fascinating though, what a talented and marvelous person he is! It was also good to be reminded of the plight of refugees, and "boat people". So often they are treated as criminals, yet many are good people who have suffered so greatly for their dream for a better life (or a life!). What a brave thing to do, to jump into the sea amongst sharks to rescue someone! How amazing that the "someone" turned out to be his mother!

  37. He is an amazing young man and I loved this post about him. I just wish that he could read it.
    I smiled the whole time reading this because your love of baseball reminds me so much of my sweet MaMa.
    Thanks for writing this I enjoyed it very much.
    Hope your well and staying out of the heat.
    Love ya

  38. He is really a grand looking dude and a winner of a human!
    Wonder how long he can hang on to being so joyous about his life? Hopeflly a long long time!

  39. Cheryl,
    If they are baseball fans, they might have. His worst problem is he plays for such a poor team.

    Now as the teams are in the pennant race would be a good time to re-wet your feet. Your Sox are in the race.

    That had to have been a shock. Those who leave difficult conditions for a better life have my admiration. Usually they excel in that they try.

    Your MaMa was my kind of woman. We are lucky and haven't had near the heat as Texas has had. Stay cool.

    Had he been born here I wouldn't hold much hope for him with all the money and attention. Coming from an oppressive society, I think he will stay grounded. I hope so anyway.