The little boy in the baseball cap was in the stands, crying. Then José Fernández stopped by with a request: Could I have your autograph?
That scene at Marlins Park several months ago went viral Wednesday as Miami turned out for Fernández’s memorial parade, a mournful journey that included a stop at the ballpark one last time. It was where Fernández shined as a star pitcher, and where an Instagram user recorded the 24-year-old trying to cheer up a child wearing another team’s hat.
“A few months ago, Jose saw this boy cry,” wrote Instagram user @lunchtimegraphs in a message posted Monday. “Jose went over and asked him for his autograph.”
In the post, a cellphone video shows Fernández on the field, and the boy in a front-row seat with an autograph book. The boy appears to be wearing a San Diego Padres cap and he’s holding a pen. Fernández apparently offered a trade.
“You write it here,” he told the boy, pointing to the blank page on the book. “And I’ll write it here.”
The boy, whose face isn’t shown but sounds to be 4 or 5, proceeds to scrawl something down while singing something loud and happy. Fernández laughs, gives an impressed look to the boy. “Alright,” he says.
Then he pulls the book toward him to collect his souvenir on the page. “I want to take one of these,” Fernández says to an adult off camera as he holds up the page with the boy’s handiwork. “Is that all right if I take it out?
It was. He separated the sheet from its binding as the 30-second clip ended, his autograph exchange complete.