TORONTO — It fell to Joe Girardi, then a Cubs catcher, to tell a sellout crowd at Wrigley Field on June 22, 2002 that the afternoon game against the Cardinals had been postponed “because of a tragedy in the Cardinals family.”
That tragedy, of course, was the sudden death of St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile, a situation many thought of Sunday when Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident.
Girardi recalled that Kile died on a Saturday and the teams resumed their series a night later.
The Marlins, after Sunday’s game against the Braves was canceled, took the field Monday night in Miami against the Mets.
“I really felt we shouldn’t have played Sunday night,” Girardi said before Monday’s game against the Blue Jays. “I don’t know when the right time is but I just felt like it was just too much for the Cardinals organization to deal with.”
Girardi said the typical festive Wrigley atmosphere was nonexistent a day later, and that wasn’t all.
Cardinals’ players were in a daze.
“You could just see it,” Girardi said. “You think about a Cubs / Cardinals series, there’s lot of excitement. There was none. I just felt like, I don’t know how they played. I didn’t understand it.”
Girardi said it’s certainly not an easy circumstance for the Mets, either.
“You almost feel like you shouldn’t be putting them [the Marlins] in that spot,” he said. “I know as the Cubs we weren’t responsible for putting them there, but you just . . . your heart goes out to them.”