The Miami Marlins honored former Alonso pitcher Jose Fernandez during their first home game of the season on Tuesday night.
The Ravens program honors him with his No. 16 stitched on their hats and by trying to replicate the passion Fernandez brought to the game.
Things are back to normal with Alonso’s baseball team. It’s a new normal. There’s hitting. There’s even laughter.
It wasn’t that way seven months ago when the Alonso program was sent reeling with the tragic death of former Raven Jose Fernandez.
“They knew about his work ethic and someone, who with all that talent, not take it for granted and work hard," Alonso coach Landy Faedo said. "But they’ve been focused.”
Many of the current Alonso players knew only of Fernandez’s legacy. They didn’t know him personally. Pitcher Jordan Butler did.
The University of Florida commit got to work out with Fernandez and learned valuable baseball and life lessons.
“I just learned to not take anything for granted and just work hard every time you come out on the field,” Butler said.
Losing Fernandez provided the team with an outlet to find each other.
“Definitely brought us closer together, I think," Butler said. "Even though last year, we were close. We brought in some new faces, losing like nine seniors , I think. And I think it just reunited us.”
That closeness carries over onto the field where the Ravens seem to be on a similar path as last year, one that led them to the state semifinals. In finding themselves, they found an identity.
“Loose, carefree, playing hard, you know, enjoying themselves," Faedo said. "We’ve been playing consistent all year long. The couple of losses that we’ve had have been close. We’ve been right in the game. We just haven’t been able to pull those losses out, but overall, we’ve been playing really well.”