José Fernández the Pitcher Was Good. José Fernández the Personality Was Better.
This week Miami Marlins phenom José Fernández bid farewell to his 2013 season, and did so in grand fashion by setting off fireworks between the Fish and the NL East-leading Braves. The Marlins had little to root for this season, but the fiery 21-year-old delivered the goods for 28 starts before management shut him down to protect his arm. Over the course of his rookie campaign the Cuba native registered a sparkling 2.19 ERA with 187 strikeouts over 172.2 innings pitched, a 0.98 WHIP, and managed 12 wins for a team that will lose 100 this year at its current pace. Based on his fWAR of 4.2, he was the 12th-best pitcher in baseball through his shutdown.
But this post isn't about his phenomenal talent.
It's about his phenomenal eccentricity.
Let's start with that hair
The infrequently attempted—and even less frequently perfected—MulletHawk
Fernández went full-on detonation while celebrating a ninth-inning Giancarlo Stanton moon shot
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I don't think any Major Leaguer has been that excited about anything. In fact I don't think anyone has ever been more visibly excited about anything before, ever.
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While pundits, purists and everyone else will debate whether Fernández showed up pitcher Mike Minor and the Braves, the fine folks at r/baseball may have uncovered the real reason Braves third baseball Chris Johnson and catcher Brian McCann became so heated: He's a Freddie Whisperer.
He tells a funny story about how the Marlins told him he made the All-Star team (click here or on the image)
José loves kids
"Giving back to the community is really important, more for the kids," Fernández said of his time hanging out with campers at the Miami Children's Museum. "With the kids, the thing is they love you a lot. It's just fun to get the chance to do stuff with them."
Stuff like pretend a prehistoric marauder is going to gnaw on preadolescent heads.
He doesn't tweet often...
He's good at pitching, but bad at putting on a jacket after getting a base hit.
Watch the full video (the spectacle begins at the 1:00 mark)
He saved his mother from drowning while defecting from Cuba to the U.S.
Fernández needed four attempts to defect to the United States. After each of the first three failed attempts, he was imprisoned. On the fourth try, in April 2008, he succeeded, but not without a huge scare: His mother went overboard when the boat hit rough waters and he had to dive in and save her.
His repertoire is sick
Watch this curve that fooled Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata, and then have a peek at some bizarro slow curve that he'll have time to work on for next season.
Fernández wasn't supposed to make the Opening Day roster this season...
It would have been more prudent, big picture, to keep him in the minors to prevent his free agency clock from starting.
Alas, Jeffrey Loria owns the Marlins. The same guy who opened a publicly financed stadium last year, set up his team in Showtime's The Franchise, then shipped half the squad to the Blue Jays. Loria reportedly pushed for Fernández's ascension to appease fans and give them a reason to show up.
Turns out, it was Fernández who did the showing up.
See you in February, Jose.