Mar 13, 2013, 6:45 AM EDT
Yoenis Cesepedes defected to the Dominican Republic from Cuba and eventually to the United States in 2011. When he did so he left his mother and 11 family members behind. They eventually made it to the D.R. too, and then on to Turks and Caicos, where they had been detained at times, out of contact at others. But finally, this past weekend, they made it to Miami. And Cespedes took a redeye flight to surprise them there on Saturday morning. Jane Lee of MLB.com reports:
“No one knew I was coming,” Cespedes said Tuesday, back with the A’s. “Everyone was sleeping, so I turned on all of the radios, all of the TVs. Nobody woke up, so I went upstairs and started knocking on all of the doors and screaming.”
Even more screaming ensued when the surprise guest was revealed. There was hugging, there was crying. Pure joy filled this reunion of mother and son, separated for over a year. And the party, Cespedes says, lasted 12 hours, before he had to return to the airport for a one-way trip back to Phoenix.
Lee reports that Cespedes, back in Phoenix and talking to reporters, seemed more relaxed and open than he ever had before, a great weight clearly lifted from his shoulders.
Demian Bulwa of the San Francisco Chronicle has more background on the odyssey Cespedes’ family experienced trying to get from Cuba to Miami.