Luis Cruz wanted to go home. He wanted to see his family again, wanted to be back in a familiar environment. He wanted to get away from that lonely hotel room in Fort Myers, Florida, that was a long way from his native Navojoa, which lies on the southern tip of Sonora, a Mexican state that shares its northern border with Arizona. He knew why he was there — it was 2000 and he’d just signed with the Boston Red Sox — just not if he could handle staying there.

“I was 17. I used to cry every day to go back home,” Cruz told The Japan Times, now smiling at the memory. “You’re 17, you’re still a boy.”

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