MIAMI -- In his absence, all of Jose Fernandez's teammates had his back during Monday night's 7-3 Marlins win over the Mets at Marlins Park, literally. Each player on the Marlins, and all of the coaches, wore No. 16 Fernandez jerseys in honor of the passing of the 24-year-old Miami ace.
During a touching pregame ceremony, a lone trumpeter played "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," as a video tribute was displayed on the scoreboard. And during the national anthem, all of Miami's starting position players gathered around the pitcher's mound, while the rest of the players on both teams stood at the lines.
As one final gesture, all Marlins players huddled around the mound, just about all of them teary-eyed. Giancarlo Stanton, eyes filled with tears, gave an emotional pep talk to his teammates, before they exited the field to a loud applause.
After the game, the Marlins' players and coaches circled the pitcher's mound in a display of unity, standing shoulder to shoulder while Stanton delivered another speech and the crowd chanted "Jo-se! Jo-se!"
The players then removed their caps, leaving them on the mound while many Mets remained in the dugout, watching in awe.
The No. 16 was prominently displayed all night, and it just may be the last time any Marlins player wears the number.
Before the game, team owner Jeffrey Loria said: "No one will wear that number. I don't see anyone wearing that number."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.