Masahiro Tanaka had the most remarkable season ever witnessed in major league baseball. Pitching for the Tohoku Rakutun Golden Eagles, his 2013 regular season record was 24 wins without a loss and a microscopic ERA of 1.27. He was the Next One. Flexing their financial muscle, and the allure of their franchise, the Yankees signed Tanaka to a long term contract beginning in 2014.
Maybe it was a response to being alone and sick in a "foreign" world. Maybe it was the realization that this was not an individual journey but a collective one that involved everyone who was part of my universe. Maybe it was just my comprehending that this undertaking was of little value if I couldn't share it, not abstractly, but in its everyday detail, with the people who had been with me nearly every step of the last three decades on my life long baseball trek.
Upon our return home, I received beautiful e-mails from both of my children, thanking me for allowing them to take part on my crazy trip to nowhere. My son wrote that a road trip each season was now an essential part of the fabric of our family and that he was anxiously awaiting the 2016 schedule so he could tell me where we would next be headed. My daughter wrote of feeling like daddy's little girl once more, and that it had been such a treat for her to be able to spend an uninterrupted week with her brother, far from the obligations and distractions of everyday life.
This was a trip in which baseball was merely an asterisk. This, it turned out, was what I had been searching for since I went through the turnstile on opening day of 2015. This was perfect.