NEW YORK - The Phillies clubhouse fell silent Sunday morning as the players gathered around television sets to watch the shocking news that Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez had died in a boating accident. Baseball - just like any professional sport - is a tight fraternity. And the news hit home.
"It is very bad because as we all know he was a great player with a lot of talent," Odubel Herrera said. "It affects everyone in the big leagues."
Herrera was teammates this summer with Fernandez at the All-Star Game. The Marlins pitcher was one of the players that Herrera's father - a huge baseball fan - hunted down for a photo during pregame festivities. Herrera saw Fernandez last week when Miami visited Citizens Bank Park. They crossed paths in the ballpark's family room as the Marlins made their way to the team bus.
"I liked talking to him because he was a humble guy," Herrera said. "He liked helping people out. It's nice when you encounter people like that."
There was a moment of silence before the game and the Mets hung a jersey with Fernandez's name and number in the dugout.
Zach Eflin posted on Twitter that Fernandez was a role model and "set the bar high for the future of the game on and off the field." Vince Velasquez said it was "such devastating news to wake up to." Pete Mackanin said Fernandez was a "hell of a pitcher." Jake Thompson, who pitched Sunday, said he was "crushed" when he heard the news.
"Right now, there's three or four young guys changing the face of the game," Thompson said. "Bringing that excitement and fun back into it. Bryce Harper is one. Mike Trout is one of those guys. Fernandez, you watched him play and you could tell that he was having fun. He was one of the best and you could just tell how much he loved to be out there."
Fernandez was one of baseball's best pitchers and biggest personalities. Fernandez, like Herrera, played the game with flair and energy.
"We were alike in that sense. We both liked to play the game the same way - with a lot of energy and a lot of passion," Herrera said. "He was very happy on the field like I am. He was great."