In August, José Fernández nervously cut into a cake with his smiling, pregnant girlfriend, Maria Arias, nearby.
The cake was pink. The two were going to have a baby girl.
“I knew it! I knew it!” Fernández can be heard saying in a video posted on Facebook by Arias’ father, Orlando A. Sanfiel.
It was clear the Marlins’ star pitcher was excited to be a dad.
On Wednesday, Fernández’s teammates, family and friends celebrated the 24-year-old’s life, which was cut short Sunday in a fatal boating wreck that also killed two of his friends.
The Marlins held a public memorial service for Fernandez, starting with the departure of the funeral motorcade, which was followed by a public viewing at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church.
As the motorcade entered the roads alongside Marlins Park, fans could be heard chanting, “José!”
The funeral motorcade departed from the park at 2:16 p.m., a time set in honor of Fernández’s jersey number, but not before his teammates had an opportunity to pay their respects and surround the hearse.
The procession came with the sobering reality that this would be the last time that Fernández’s body, a body that just days ago represented the hopes of a fan base and the city’s Cuban community, would be at Marlins Park.
Following the departure of the hearse, Marlins Tom Koehler and David Phelps went over to the memorial wall that was set up by the Marlins and left their friend and teammate one final note.
Fernández’s family, including his grandmother, who was wearing a Marlins jersey with pink lettering, arrived at the church a short time after the procession departed.