Tributes have been pouring in across baseball in the days since the tragic death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez in a boating accident in Miami early Sunday morning.
They’ve come from inside the sport and out, all bearing a message of tremendous shock and sadness over the sudden loss of one of baseball’s brightest young stars.
If you’ve driven in certain parts of North Carolina recently, odds are you’ve seen one of those messages. It’s a simple billboard, with an RIP across a black background with a picture of Fernandez standing in for the the letter “I.”
In fact, the graphic is very similar to a shirt many Marlins players have worn in the days since Fernandez’s death, both on the field and in public appearances.
What’s left unwritten is who took out the ads. The answer? The billboard company itself, Fairway Outdoor Advertising, which has locations in 19 states, including six in North Carolina.
Fairway also counts the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the low Class A affiliate of the Marlins and one of Fernandez’s first stops in the minor leagues, as a client.
Knowing that, the company decided to place the ad on billboards in eight locations throughout the Greensboro and Winston-Salem area. They’ll run through Oct. 2, this Sunday.
The Grasshoppers, too, plan to hold a tribute to Fernandez, who made 14 starts with the club in 2012, at the beginning of next season.