PEORIA, Ariz. -- For Dustin Ackley, no matter what stresses come his way this baseball season, nothing will likely match his cross-country journey from Michigan to Arizona that was interrupted midway by the unexpected arrival of his first child.
After setting off by RV from Lapeer, Mich., for their annual trek west with their two dogs in tow, things got a little crazy for the Ackleys when his wife, Justine, went into labor about halfway into the four-day journey. Though the baby wasn't due for five more weeks, there are no stop signs for these things once nature takes its course.
Thus the Ackleys found themselves racing to a hospital in Oklahoma City, where young Parson was born on Thursday.
"It was crazy, to say the least," said Ackley, whose wife and newborn son remained behind when he finally completed his journey to Spring Training and arrived just in time for Wednesday's reporting day at Peoria. "We were thinking he'd probably be late and would come right about when the season was starting."
Ackley said Parson is still in the NICU due to his premature arrival, but is doing fine and could be released in the next few days.
The 27-year-old left fielder was calmly taping up one of his bats before heading out to the Mariners' first full-squad workout of the spring, but admitted things were a bit more hectic a week earlier.
"I didn't draw it up that way," he said. "I usually like to set plans, but that one wasn't even close."
Once doctors delivered the early arriver, the Ackleys went through the normal process of filling out the paperwork.
"They asked us what his middle name was and we said, 'We haven't had time to think about that yet,'" Ackley said.
Eventually the couple decided. And so it is. Parson Bennett Ackley. Early scouting report: unexpectedly good speed.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.