Nationals hold pregame tribute for Fernandez

Nationals hold pregame tribute for Fernandez

WASHINGTON -- Rain may have delayed the start of the Marlins' game against the Nationals on Friday night, but it didn't dampen a moving pregame tribute for Jose Fernandez.

A short video highlight clip of Fernandez was played before the national anthem, and the grounds crew at Nationals Park sketched No. 16 on the back of the mound. The Marlins went on to beat the Nationals, 7-4, and afterwards they were thankful for all of the support.

With both teams standing on their respective lines during and after the anthem, the Marlins' players removed their caps and tipped them in the direction of the Nationals, as their players followed suit and returned the gesture.

"It's really classy and something that we really appreciate," Marlins center fielder Christian Yelich said. "It hit our guys real hard the last few days, but I feel it's hit the baseball community hard as well. We definitely appreciate the support from around the league, especially the Nats here."

Nationals honor Fernandez

Fernandez, who died in a boating accident on Sunday morning, made his final start on Sept. 20 at home against the Nationals. The two-time All-Star threw arguably his best game, tossing eight innings while striking out 12 in a 1-0 win.

Since his death, Fernandez's No. 16 has been on display. It was painted on the back of the mound at Marlins Park, and the Nationals repeated the tribute on Friday.

"Nice touch by the Nationals," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "It seems like everyone has that feeling for Jose, the way he carried himself and the fun that he had was really what you loved so much about him. That little kid. That part it seems like it's taken hold of a lot of people around baseball and around the country."

Before the Marlins arrived on Friday, they had a warm message from the D-backs, who completed a series at Washington on Thursday.

"The Diamondbacks left us a nice message in the weight room as well," Yelich said. "It feels good to know that we're not alone in this grieving process. He had such a big impact on baseball, not just our team. It was felt throughout the league. It's going to take that a while to go away."

The start of the game was scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET, but due to rain, first pitch was thrown at 8:48 p.m.

In the Marlins' clubhouse, a black No. 16 Fernandez jersey was hung on a corner locker. The Nationals had a Fernandez jersey in their dugout. On the scoreboard, over the Marlins' lineup, was a Fernandez 16 jersey rather than the team logo.

The funeral service for Fernandez was on Thursday in Miami.

"Obviously, the service was really powerful," said Mattingly, one of the speakers. "I thought the priest's message was really powerful. I guess it's part of the process and steps that we have to take to get where we're going.

"It's just hard to think about his mom and grandma, girlfriend and unborn child. It's just not going to go away that quickly for them."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for 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.