John Jaso We knew that he was looking for it to He decided to retire and started looking for sailing boats. The 2017 season was his first. Jaso, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first baseman, would spend his downtime at home browsing on Websites for boat owners. The Pirates also visited these sites. a Near team a He would be a body of water and wander through the marinas, as he imagines himself. on Open water

Baltimore, June 1, before a 7:10 pm. First pitch against Orioles Jaso Rent a Car and driving to Annapolis, Md. There, he found the boat he’d been looking for: a 2014 Jeanneau 44 DS. It was surveyed and purchased by him. He then had it shipped. to He made it back to St. Petersburg in Florida, his off-season house. He returned home. to Time to get to the stadium to You can go two for four with an R.B.I.

Four months later, when the Pirates’ season ended without a playoff berth, a A few reporters wandered around to Jaso’s locker and asked him what his plans were. He reached the conclusion of the two-year $8 million contract with the team. to Becoming a No cost agent He said that the Caribbean would be his next home. He said he was going to retire.

“I have a sailboat,” he said, “so I just want to sail away.”

Five years later, catchers and pitchers began to flood into Arizona’s spring training camps. on Monday, JasoThe last catcher to You have been caught a It was a perfect game and there are no regrets. “Sometimes I’ll just be out on the boat bobbing in the water, not sailing or even fishing, and I’ll think to myself: ‘There’s nowhere else on the planet I’d rather be than right here,’” He stated. “It’s been the perfect fit for who I am.”

Jaso’s baseball journey was never quite as good a fit. Tampa Bay chose him in round 12 of 2003’s draft. to Near the conclusion of 2008, the majors were in the stands. He was traded 3 times during his career. to After the catch, first base to the catcher sustaining multiple concussions. But he had plenty of highlights too: He caught Félix Hernández’s 2012 perfect game for the Seattle Mariners — there hasn’t been one in M.L.B. since — and hit for the first cycle in PNC Park history when he was with Pittsburgh in 2016. He has been with Pittsburgh for many years. dreadlocks He was almost immediately recognizable at the close of his career. His career earnings topped $17 million. according to Spotrac.

He found the M.L.B. He found the M.L.B. to In some cases, it can prove to be unfulfilling. “Baseball set me up for life,” He stated. “I love it, and I respect it. But it was part of this culture of consumerism and overconsumption that began to weigh really heavily on me. Even when I retired, people said: ‘You might be walking away from millions of dollars!’ But I’d already made millions of dollars. Why do we always have to have more, more, more?”

He felt a sense of fulfillment in boating. He became familiar with each foot on the boat. He took a Class for installed solar panels, and diesel engine mechanics a wind generator. He watched hours upon hours of YouTube videos on electronics, making sure that he understood every wire. “If anything goes wrong in the open ocean,” He said: “I’m the only one out there to fix it.”

It was all gone to How to do it: to sail.

He saw an advert for a Sunset Tour on Craigslist, emailed captain offering a For as little as 100 dollars a Commanding 101 a boat. After a He felt secure enough after a few hours. to Go it on your own. “It was like learning to hit a fastball and lay off a slider,” He stated. “You can hear coaches talk about it all day, but you’ll only learn how to do it if you face it in a game.”

Jaso He named the boat Roaming Rose after his beloved yacht and began taking day trips to the Gulf of Mexico beginning in 2018. He was already working that day. on When he was struck by lightning, his boat a A strange and sudden sensation. “I thought, something feels really weird right now,” He stated. “Like I was forgetting something. And then it hit me: I should have been in spring training. I started laughing because I realized: I didn’t miss it at all.”

He took his first big voyage a A few more weeks passed. He went south to Key West and where you stayed on Three weeks on the boat before leaving for the Abaco Islands, northern Bahamas. Anchoring in a For the best part of, protected bay a month. When he found out about, he ran. a Major storm moving across the Atlantic. He managed to stay out of most winds and rain. on It took five days to sail back home. on He said that he experienced lightning and violent winds on the last night.

One hand was kept by him on the deck on The wheel and the one on His bag. The lifesaver was strapped to his bag. on Keep him in place, just in case he is thrown outboard. He observed the lightning marbled the sky and felt its surges shake off the boat. The Coast Guard was alerted. to He called his brother and asked him to explain his situation. a backup. After a He was back after a couple of hours of white-knuckling on Dry land

“In the moment, you’re terrified, and you want to be as far away from danger as possible,” He stated. “But once it’s over, you appreciate where you’re at more. There’s this euphoria that comes over you when the storm clouds part. It’s like holding your breath underwater and then coming back up to the surface and taking that first gulp of air.”

Where? Jaso The experiences were described to Fernando Perez, a friend and former teammate, Perez wasn’t surprised in the slightest. “Playing professional baseball is a kind of drug,” Perez is currently a Video analyst for the San Francisco Giants “When you retire, you have to find another high. The drug that John found was being in the middle of nowhere and keeping himself alive. That first storm didn’t scare him away. He liked getting caught in it.”

In the initial two years following retirement, Jaso Approximately six months spent in the last year on He was able to sail his boat. Rest of the time, he was in St. Petersburg. He said that he doesn’t follow any baseball anymore but he still likes to try. to Catch a Every year, a game or two. In 2018, during a He tried to win the Rays victory over Boston Red Sox to go down to The dugout to Speak up to Former teammates. However, an observer noticed that his tie-dyed and sleeveless Tshirt was not his. a Buy a ticket waved him back up to Cheap seats. One day, another person recognized the man and took him off.

He also took several vacations. to Europe: Discovering a passion for exploring his father’s ancestral land in the Basque Country of northern Spain. He’s also a driver. a Campervans around Australia and Indonesia. The boat was his greatest pleasure. “I want my life to be simple, and it doesn’t get simpler than being on a sailboat,” He stated. “You treat the boat right, and she treats you right. That’s all there is to it.”

Roaming Rose, which he had docked in Turks and Caicos prior to the pandemic. Due to restrictions on travel, the ship remained in place for nearly two years. He was finally cleared to Jayden Davila is his girlfriend and he came back to collect the boat. a A three month sail across the Caribbean. The crew docked at Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and British Virgin Islands.

“John is a pretty peaceful person in general,” Davila said. “But there’s another level of peace and happiness for him when he’s on the boat. Even when there are issues — and something is always going wrong — he liked dealing with it. When things are calm, sometimes he’ll just randomly grab his guitar and start playing. It’s really a beautiful existence for him out there.”

Jaso He lives in St. Petersburg and manages some investments properties. But he’s rarely in one place for long. This winter, he’s been snowboarding in Colorado and Wyoming. By the spring, he’ll be back on The boat.

“When you’re sailing, you’re going back to something primitive,” He stated. “You’re removing yourself from the material world — this concrete, electronic world. And you’re returning to this sense of wonder. It’s the same sense you get when you’re holding a newborn baby, looking into their eyes, and feeling the world disappear around you.

“Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we all come from the same place. When you’re out there on the water, you remember.”