Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna is thanking his lucky stars he decided not to join Jose Fernandez and his pals for the ill-fated boat trip that ended in disaster and death on September 25.
After Monday’s game Ozuna told the media he turned down an invitation to join Fernandez on the Saturday boat trip that only a few hours later ended in the deaths of the pitcher and two of his friends, Emilio Jesus Macias and Eduardo Rivero, when the boat crashed into a pile of rocks in the Government Cut North jetty.
The outfielder even said he had a bad feeling about the boating plans, the Miami Herald reported.
“That night I told him, ‘Don’t go out,'” Ozuna told the media. “Everybody knew he was crazy about that boat and loved being out on the water. I told him I couldn’t go out that night because I had the kids and my wife waiting for me.”
“He told me if I didn’t hear from him by 10 a.m. [Sunday morning] to call him and wake him up so he could get back to the ballpark on time for the game. I told him, ‘yeah no problem, I’ll call you.’ I woke up Sunday and that’s when I found out. I cried and cried.”
“When I got here [to Marlins Park] and saw everyone so serious, I just shut down,” Ozuna said. “I didn’t think my brother would be gone so soon.”
“This is something no one could have ever expected,” Ozuna added. “That someone like Jose with so much joy and so much life was going to leave us so soon.”
Ozuna noted that he and Fernandez were like brothers and also said he hopes to be able to tell his soon-to-be-born daughter that her father was a great man.
“I hope one day I get to meet his daughter and get the chance to tell her what her father was like,” Ozuna said. “He loved my son and he was so excited to see his baby girl born. I was so happy for him. My brother was going to have his baby. It hurts me so much that he won’t get to see her grow up.”
After the deadly Saturday accident, the Marlins released a statement relaying the team’s shock and horror over the incident.
“The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández,” the Marlins explained in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”
In another show of how much his teammates loved him, the entire team wore Fernandez’ number 16 jersey during Monday’s game.
“For us, we feel like we lost the world. Jose was a part of me. It’s left an empty feeling so big … just look at the way this team is feeling now,” Ozuna concluded.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.