Of course, you should respect your manager. Redmond is a good guy who understands that players have different personalities. But when he tells you to “try to do something different,” he seems to be saying to tone down, to be more conventional, to harness emotions.
You play for the last-place Marlins, for heaven’s sake. There hasn’t been much to be excited about all season. You should be applauded for bringing smiles and laughter to that building. You were 9-0 at home with an incredible 1.19 ERA — best in all of baseball. You are a huge reason 25,000 people showed up for that Braves game.
No question you should be named National League Rookie of the Year. Your numbers are sick — 2.19 ERA, second-lowest in the majors behind the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw. Only three rookie pitchers have done better in the past 65 years. You struck out 187 batters in 172 innings. The Marlins were 18-10 when you started, which means you can be largely thanked for one-third of the team’s victories this season.
Five years ago, you were on a boat, bobbing in the rough waters of the Florida Straits, wondering if you’d live or die. Today, you are one of the most entertaining players in Major League Baseball, along with another Cuban defector, Yasiel Puig, who, by the way, has also been asked to tone it down, who has been criticized for over-celebrating and flipping his bat after hitting a home run.
The Cuban passion for baseball is unmatched. It can be infectious. It’s good for baseball. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
“He’s going to be one of the top pitchers in this league for a long time, but you want your players to be judged for the way they compete, not for the theatrics,” Redmond said of Fernandez.
Jose, there is nothing wrong with the way you compete. You compete with all your heart and all your soul. Your theatrics make people smile and enjoy a game that too often takes itself too seriously. Here’s hoping you’ll be remembered for the way you compete, and for your theatrics.
No cambies! Don’t change!