A Lesson From Carlos Gonzalez And Jose Fernandez: Baseball Is Fun

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Consider this GIF a manifesto.

In the sixth inning of last night's game between the Colorado Rockies and the Miami Marlins, Carlos Gonzalez turned a Jose Fernandez fastball into a missile that traveled 430 feet, right over the center field wall. Even though the Rockies were down 6-0 when Gonzalez connected, and Jose Fernandez was working his way through a gem of a start, Gonzalez, because he had just done something awesome, stood at home plate for a beat or two to admire his work.

This was a perfect moment for Fernandez or any other Marlins player to wipe the tobacco juice off their copy of Baseball: The Unwritten Rules, turn to McCann 2:37 ("Thou shalt not show up a pitcher when down by more than three runs!"), and start barking at Gonzalez. Fernandez in fact stared down Gonzalez as he rounded first base, and for a moment it looked like some shit was about to go down. But then Fernandez turned back toward the plate, and he was smiling. Later, Fernandez would talk some good-natured shit to Gonzalez from the dugout. He had just gotten shown up on his home field, and he was having fun.

What we have here is a reminder that baseball games don't have to unfold under the kind of humorlessness—a tyranny that Fernandez himself is very familiar with—that seeks to stamp any amount of swagger out of the game. As Gonzalez explained after the game, there was nothing mean-spirited about his actions:

"It was fun. It was nothing like he was mad at me. We have a really good relationship," Gonzalez said. "When he gets you out, he lets you know. So why not do the same thing when you get him?"

After Fernandez exited the game comfortably ahead — he worked six innings and tied the Marlins' opening day mark with nine strikeouts — the right-hander yelled good-natured barbs at Gonzalez from the dugout.

"He's a good kid," said Gonzalez of his all-star teammate last season. "He has passion for the game and shows it."


Gonzalez wasn't acting like a dipshit. He was just acting like a really good baseball player who was excited about crushing a massive home run against another really good baseball player, and Fernandez understood that. Together they helped make a baseball game something that baseball games increasingly struggle to be: fun.