Few outside of the clubhouses knew that Gio Gonzalez and José Fernandez were family friends as it was something Gio and José did not advertise as they played for division rivals. Their baseball tied to their Cuban roots and close proximity to each other in south Florida led to friendships between the Gonzalez and Fernandez families. When Gio’s phone rang just after 7 A.M. on Sunday morning to let him know about the passing of José Fernandez and two friends, the initial fear was Max ‘Gonzi’ Gonzalez, Gio’s brother, was on that boat with José Fernandez as he was so often. It was also reported that Marcel Ozuna was asked to go on the boat that fateful night. Contrary to some reports, José Fernandez and his friends enjoyed getting up early to do some late night fishing or as they called it, early morning fishing depending on your frame of reference.
Gonzi was one of José Fernandez’s closest friends and their mothers were close also as well as their abuela. This is a tragedy to so many that loved José Fernandez and his two friends in that close Cuban and Latino community. Tomorrow is the private service and Gio Gonzalez and his family will be attending.
It’s with a heavy heart that Gio, weather permitting, is set to pitch tonight. The pain will stay with him for a long time. Gio and José had so much in common right down to their occupations as baseball starting pitchers in the NL East. Gio had shared fatherhood stories the last time he saw José who was set to become a father for the first time early next year.
That becomes the back drop for tonight’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Gio Gonzalez will be flying down to Miami for Jose Fernandez's funeral tomorrow, so if tonight's game is postponed, Nats will need to adjust
— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) September 28, 2016
Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, Fox Sports Arizona , MLB.TV
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):
- Trea Turner 2B
- Ben Revere CF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Clint Robinson 1B
- Jayson Werth LF
- Brian Goodwin RF
- Danny Espinosa SS
- Jose Lobaton C
- Gio Gonzalez LHP
After the game, this was posted which also says that Gonzi could have been on the boat:
Trea Turner on Gio Gonzalez/Jose Fernandez: 'I heard his brother was close to going on that boat and was really good friends with him.'
— Chase Hughes (@chasehughesCSN) September 29, 2016