It was a little more about baseball Tuesday night at Marlins Park.
But a day after they played their hearts out in an emotional victory over the Mets — their first game since Jose Fernandez’s death, the emotional drain stemming from three days of grieving took its toll on the Marlins.
“[Last night’s game] was so draining,” Stanton said. “We really don’t have time to sit back and grieve. This week will be draining for us. But we’ve got to be the ones up front, and leading the charge, because everyone is drained from this.”
Stanton gave the inspirational speech to his teammates before and after Monday night’s game, which was chock-full of unforgettable moments — from Dee Gordon’s leadoff home run to the tearful meetings at the mound where Fernandez’s No. 16 was still painted in the style of the Marlins jersey numbers.
“If you care about life, if you have passion, if you have loved ones — you can relate to this situation,” Stanton said. “I didn’t think a team could be tighter than we were before this, but we are.”
The Marlins went back to wearing their own names and numbers on their black jerseys.
Instead, they wore a commemorative patch with Fernandez’s No. 16 in white inside a white circle — an image displayed prominently a day earlier throughout Marlins Park.
The Marlins will continue to wear that patch on their jerseys for the remainder of the season and possibly next season.
“We lost an icon,” Miguel Rojas said in Spanish on Tuesday afternoon. “We lost a legend. We lost a companion, a friend, a brother, a leader.
“It’s not only a loss for Miami and for Florida, but for the entire baseball world.”
The tributes to Fernandez’s memory weren’t as prominent, but there were subtle reminders.
Fernandez’s name was still displayed along the small scoreboard wall at the edge of the upper deck in right field.
Some of the scoreboards with ads from companies such as Draft Kings and Wellmax displayed tribute messages to Fernandez.
A Mets fan was shown on the main scoreboard holding a large sign that read “Mets fans love Jose” during the fifth inning, prompting a standing ovation from the crowd.
The Mets players, who took a moment to hug each and every Marlins player and coach before Monday’s game, had another heartfelt gesture for their division rivals a day later.
Each Mets player signed the 1980s retro jersey of Fernandez that Yoenis Cespedes hung in their dugout at Citi Field this past Sunday, and later presented it to the Marlins as a gift.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said it didn’t take much to be snapped back to reality, however.
“It was a closer to business as usual today,” Mattingly said. “But the minute you get to the building and you walk inside the doors it kind of brings up all the emotions again.”
Mattingly said getting back to the routine of the baseball season was in this case therapeutic for his team as it provided a much-needed distraction.
“I think the routine of the game is really good for you,” Mattingly said. “You’ve been doing this almost the whole season. We feel it’s almost on autopilot, fielding ground balls, taking at-bats. It’s almost mindless. It does good to be on the field. It feels good to prepare for a game.”
The Baseball Writers Association of America announced its annual team awards Tuesday.
▪ Christian Yelich was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player. Yelich entered Tuesday’s game with 20 home runs and 95 RBI — career-highs in each category.
▪ Kyle Barraclough was chosen as Rookie of the Year. Barraclough emerged as an integral part of the team’s late-inning relief and leads all National League relievers with 113 strikeouts as of Monday.
▪ Martin Prado was chosen as this year’s Charlie Hough Award recipient, affectionately known as the “Good Guy Award.”
▪ Ichiro Suzuki was the winner of the Jeff Conine Award, which represents the spirit and determination that Conine portrayed during his career.
▪ Voting for these awards closed on September 12th.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP Jose Urena (4-8, 5.95 ERA) vs. New York Mets RHP Seth Lugo (4-2, 2.61 ERA), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Thursday: Off.