I Wish Every Player Loved Baseball and Life Like José Fernández Did

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I know this site is about independent baseball.

And I also know that José Fernández was definitely not an indy ball player. In fact, the 24 year old was one of the greatest younger MLB pitchers of all time.

But this is the only outlet that I have to (try to) put what I’m feeling into words and share that with the baseball community. Indy ball, minors or majors… it really doesn’t matter. The love for this sport is strong wherever you go.

As I’m sitting here watching the Miami Marlins take the field for the first time since his tragic death, the entire team wearing #16 Fernández jerseys with tears in their eyes, I can’t help but bawl my eyes out too. Dee Gordon’s first home run of the season in his first at bat after putting on Fernández’s batting helmet isn’t helping the tears either…

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I didn’t personally know Fernández as many of my friends did, but I have had the pleasure of seeing him during batting practices at PNC Park (watching him interact with kids and adults alike) along with watching countless games on TV. As the announcers of this game just mentioned, he’s the guy who fans of other teams would tune in to watch if their team wasn’t playing at that time. That’s certainly true in my case as well.

I’m a baseball fan before I’m a (insert specific team name here) fan. And as a baseball fan, how could you not love José Fernández?

He had a love and energy for this game and for life in general that I have never seen before, but I sure do hope to see again.

I honestly wish every player loved baseball and life as much as Fernández did… I’m just not sure that’ll ever be possible.

He loved life. He loved baseball. And he did it all with the biggest, most infectious smile on his face. You honestly cannot find a picture of him NOT smiling unless he was in game-mode, on the mound throwing strikes. But even then, he couldn’t hold back that youthful grin for very long.

If you’ve never seen him, I’m not sure I can truly convey his playful attitude and demeanor. The best way I can describe it is that he played baseball like the happiest of little leaguers. He had a spark and a passion that you just don’t see at the major league level.

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Yes, he was an amazing pitcher, but he was also a fantastic teammate and person. The first guy cheering on his teammates, the first one to joke and mess around during interviews. He knew when to be serious and get down to business, but he still managed to do it with such enthusiasm that everyone fed off of.

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I’m sure his confidence came off as cockiness and arrogance to some, but that just comes with the territory of being young and talented… I feel confident in saying that he never intended it to come off that way.

He was just a kid from Cuba who was living the dream. And after leaving Cuba at the age of 15 – after three unsuccessful attempts – he had every right to live out the dream playing America’s past time.

To many, baseball is a just a game or a job, but some times it isn’t. It’s much more than that.  José Fernández and the bond everyone in baseball has with each other just proves that.

Baseball is fun, and he never forgot that. I hope every player never forgets that either.

Rest in peace,  José. Thank you for bringing joy to baseball like only you could.

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Puerto Rico Instructional Baseball League Player Update

Continuing with the theme of Player Updates (Frontier, Cal Winter League, Arizona Winter League), the Puerto Rico Instructional Baseball League (PRIBL) has provided Indy Ball Island with a list of players who have been signed during or after attending their league.

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 2016 PRIBL Transactions

This is the list of players that were signed during or after the PRIBL 2016 season. The list, which was updated on September 6 of this year, includes players who had signed at least a spring training contract for independent baseball. A total of 46 players found some opportunity with the help of PRIBL; some of these players received more than one contract during the year.
Asian Leagues (No Stats available)
Efrain Nieves – LHP (Lamigo Monkeys, Chinese Professional Baseball League, stats not available)
Timothy D Battle – OF (Kōchi Fighting Dogs, Shikoku Island League, Japan, stats not available)
Barrett Phillips – LHP (Kōchi Fighting Dogs, Shikoku Island League, Japan, stats not available)
Josh Ruiz – RHP (Shinano Grandserows, BC League, Japan, stats not available)
Europe’s Leagues
Jonathan Grishman – 1B/3B (Austrian Baseball League, Europe, stats not available)
Robert Shaw – 1B Signed with Feldkirch Cardinals, Best batter in the Austrian Baseball League with .541 avg
Quinn Tiernan – C Signed with Stuttgard Reds in German, ended season hitting .245 avg in 23 games.
*Zach Johnson – 1B/OF Signed with Mannheim Tornados in Germany, ended season hitting .316 avg in 28 games.
Brandon Worden – C Signed with Hannover Regents in Germany, ended season hitting .400 avg in 14 games.
Mexican Leagues
Jake Hovis – RHP Signed by Algodoneros de San Luis, release without playing a game.
*William Oliver – RHP Signed by Broncos de Reynosa, Mexico, release after pitching in 14 games with a 0-5 record and 12.50 ERA
Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs
Freddie Cabrera– RHP Signed by Long Island Ducks, currently playing with a 0-0 record and 7.10
ERA in 4 games.
 
American Association of Independent Professional Baseball
*Bryan Escanio – RHP Signed by Sioux City Explorers, currently playing with a 5-3 record and 5.60 ERA in 14 games.
Alex de la Cruz – RHP Signed by Joplin Blaster, currently playing with a 2-7 record and 6.04 ERA in 14 games.
Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball
Joe Perrotta – RHP Signed by Ottawa Champions, release after pitching in 1 game with a 0-1 record and 27.00 ERA. Retired by Injury
Fernando Cruz – RHP Signed by Ottawa Champions, currently playing with a 6-3 record and 2.62 ERA in 34 games.
Frontier League
Angel Reyes – RHP Signed by Normal CornBelters, release without playing a game. Injured before season.
*Javier Marticorena – IF Signed by Florence Freedom on August 15 after a very successful season in the Empire League, currently hitting .333 avg in 6 games.
Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs
Gilbert Guerra – OF Signed by Pittsburg Diamonds but did not attend spring training.
Ian Hagenmiller – 3B Signed by Pittsburg Diamonds, ended season with a .223 avg in 32 games.
Empire Professional Baseball League
 *Luc Pomales – 3B Signed by Old Orchard Beach Surge, ended season hitting .340 avg in 55 games.
Ricardo Pérez – SS Signed by Watertown Bucks, ended season hitting .282 avg in 31 games.
*Javier Marticorena – IF Signed by Watertown Bucks, ended season hitting .425 avg in 54 games.
*David Wynn – LHP Signed by Watertown Bucks, ended season with a 3-3 record and 6.06 ERA in 7 games.
Eckersley Villasamil – C Signed by Watertown Bucks, release without playing a game.
Juan Alcántara – C Signed by Watertown Bucks, release without playing a game.
*Steven Rodriguez – OF Signed by Sullivan Explorers, ended season hitting .250 avg in 12 at bats.
Hiroki Taniguchi – 2B Signed by Sullivan Explorers, release without playing a game.
Carlos Saenz – OF Signed by Sullivan Explorers, release without playing a game.
Gilberto Negrón – IF Signed by Sullivan Explorers, release without playing a game.
Felix Vega – 1B Signed by Sullivan Explorers, release without playing a game.
United Shore Professional Baseball League
Blake Harrell – OF Signed by Utica Unicorns, was released hitting .319 avg in 13 games.
Jaime Mcmillan – 1B Signed by Eastside Diamond Hoppers, currently hitting .240 avg in 31 games.
Alex Delgado – 3B Signed by Eastside Diamond Hoppers, currently hitting .281 avg in 46 games.
Kam Stewart – SS Signed by Eastside Diamond Hoppers, currently hitting .314 avg in 44 games.
Joe Fiorino – OF Signed by Eastside Diamond Hoppers, currently hitting .224 avg in 39 games.
*Zach Johnson – 1B Signed by Eastside Diamond Hoppers, currently hitting .143 avg in 3 games.
*Drue Bravo – RHP Signed by Eastside Diamond Hoppers, release after pitching in 14 games with a 1-3 record and 4.03 ERA
Josh Smetana – RHP Signed by Eastside Diamond Hoppers, release after pitching in 9 games with a 0-3 record and 3.24 ERA
Julian Griffith – OF Signed by Eastside Diamond Hoppers, released without playing a game.
*Roberto Feliciano – LHP Signed by Eastside Diamond Hoppers, but did not attend.
Liga Béisbol Superior Doble A de Puerto Rico
Hibraim Cordova – OF Signed by Patrulleros de San Sebastián, ended season hitting .309 avg in 20 games.
*Luis Ramos – LHP Signed by Patrulleros de San Sebastián, ended with 6-1 and 1.38 ERA in 9 games.
*David Wynn – LHP Signed by Patrulleros de San Sebastián, ended with 2-2 and 3.17 ERA in 7 games.
*Roberto Feliciano – LHP Signed by Cafeteros de Yauco, ended with 3-3 and 3.77 ERA in 10 games.
*Miguel Martínez – LHP Signed by Arenosos de Camuy, ended with 6-0 and 1.69 ERA in 11 games.
*Bryan Escanio – RHP Signed by Halcones de Gurabo, ended with 5-4 and 2.34 ERA in 11 games.
Ysander Figueroa – OF Signed by Sultanes de Mayaguez, ended season hitting .328 avg in 20 games.
2016 PRIBL players with contract in the next Winter Leagues
*Miguel Martínez – LHP (Tiburones de Aguadilla, Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente)
*Luis Ramos – LHP (Tiburones de Aguadilla, Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente)
Joshua Torres – RHP (Tiburones de Aguadilla, Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente)
*Steven Rodriguez – OF (Tiburones de Aguadilla, Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente)
*William Oliver – RHP (Criollos de Caguas, Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente)
Andrew Schenk – RHP (Peel Diamond, Australian League)
*Players with more than one contract in the same year (Different leagues).
Note:
32 of the 46 players were able to stay on the roster of their respective teams all year. More
transactions will be added in the next month. We are sending some players to the different Winter Leagues that we work with. For more information visit our website at:
or write us by email at info@pribaseball.com

 

Writing and sharing stories about Independent Baseball.