“But what Dee Gordon did on Monday night, as the Marlins’ leadoff hitter in their first game without their heartbeat, was one of those uplifting moments that make us care about sports.
Gordon, a left-handed hitter, got into the batter’s box as a righty, the side from which Fernandez hit. He took one pitch from that side, switched helmets, took another pitch, and then belted a fly ball high over right field.
It soared above a black scoreboard showing Fernandez’s number, 16, the number every Marlin wore on his back on Monday, the number no Marlin will ever wear again. It landed in the second deck for a home run, the first in more than 300 at-bats this season for Gordon.
“First swing he took, and that’s the first ball he ever hit into the upper deck,” said the Marlins’ Christian Yelich. “If that doesn’t tell you something, I don’t know what does.”
Teammates pounded the dugout railing with their hands, the way Fernandez used to celebrate, as Gordon circled the bases in tears. He pointed skyward after crossing the plate, nearly collapsing into the arms of his teammates, tears flowing into their Fernandez jerseys.”