When international student Kai Kawaguchi first learned he was going to study in the United States, he knew he had to make it to a Major League Baseball game. But he never dreamed he would snag a home run ball with his own two hands.
Thanks to Ohio Northern – and a little bit of luck – that’s precisely what happened.
Because Interim International Services Coordinator Chris Caldwell knew how much Kai wanted to go to a game, he put together a special trip for Kai and 10 other international students to attend a game at Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich., between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins.
The group sat in left field seats near the bullpen in the frontmost row. Wearing the baseball glove he’d brought with him from Japan, Kai was ready and determined to get his hands on an official MLB baseball to bring back home.
Then, in the top of the eighth inning, his moment came. A line drive soared over the outfield fence, over the bullpen and directly into Kawaguchi’s glove.
His reaction was, in his own words, “so surprised and so happy – just happy.”
None of this would’ve been possible had it not been for a casual conversation between Kawaguchi and Caldwell when Kai first arrived just over a month before the game.
“I talked with Chris before International Welcome Weekend,” Kawaguchi says. “I wanted to go to a Major League Baseball game. I just talked with him, so I didn’t expect he would take us to a baseball stadium, but then he sent me an email, so I was very surprised, and it became my dream come true.”