The big day finally came over the All-Star break, when my wife, Misaki, and I had our first child, a baby boy, Taiki. We are so fortunate to have had a healthy child; he was born on July 10 and weighed in at seven pounds, three ounces.
Originally we thought that he would be born on the Fourth of July, which would have meant missing some games. I would gladly have missed the games, and the Rays were more than happy to accommodate me if I needed to go, but I'm glad it didn't come to that.
Just having my own baby makes me feel like I have more responsibility than at any time in my life. So my life has changed a great deal. Now the baby comes first. Anything I do, I think about the baby first. It's only a few days after he's born, and as long as he's healthy, I'm happy. Once he starts crawling or walking or picking up baseballs, I'm going to be even happier; that's when I will have even more joy spending time with my son.
I am fortunate in many ways, like having a wife who understands I need to sleep for my job, so she has done the majority of the work when it comes to taking care of our new addition. If Taiki wakes up in the middle of the night, Misaki takes care of him. Right now, it looks like my wife is OK to take care of the baby on her own. She has the energy to do that. But once she becomes tired, I'll help out more. Everybody asks me, so I'll confess: I have not changed a diaper yet. But I have fed him.
While I've felt a great deal of change in my life -- good changes -- with the addition of Taiki, our dog, Nutts, hasn't handled the change so well. I suddenly feel the jealousy from Nutts because of the baby. So my wife is taking care of the baby, and I'm taking care of Nutts.
On the field, we're more than halfway through the season. Some think I've done exactly as I was supposed to. Some are surprised by what I've done. When I had some time away from the field, during the period when I had to rehab for my oblique, I realized how much I missed playing. I'm going to remember that in the future, and try to do everything possible to perform better by this time next year than I have this year. I'm going to be even better prepared to have a better season.
I think we have a lot of talent on this team, and we're making strides to be a really good team.
I'm still enjoying seeing the different cities we travel to, but even though I feel the difference between the cities, the things I can do in New York, Boston and St. Petersburg are pretty much the same things. Of course when I go to different places, I enjoy going to different places, but the things I can really do are not that much different. I really enjoy the relaxed environment of St. Petersburg.
Anyway, that's all for now. Take care, Aki.
Akinori Iwamura is a contributor to MLB.com. As told through interpreter Masanobu Koyanagi. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.