Family affair: Bees infielder Andrew Romine, brother Austin have followed in their father's footsteps
"Even as babies they were drawn to the game," Kevin said. Andrew remembers that the game was so prevalent that even inside the house the game was played.
"Playing in the house with rolled-up socks as a baseball and pillows as our bats," Andrew said, and "hiding all the glass stuff that's out in the living room so we don't break it before Mom gets home."
"I always felt that if they showed a talent and love for the sport, that someday they might follow my path," Kevin said. "At a young age, they showed talents in baseball that seemed to separate them from the rest. By the time they were in high school, people would comment on their talent. I suppose that was when I felt they could play further in the game."
After high school, Andrew played for Arizona State while Austin opted to head straight to professional baseball. Both players were drafted by their respective teams in 2007.
Getting the call
Andrew, 27, spent his first season with the Orem Owlz and then moved through the farm system until September 2010, when he received "the call."
“I was supposed to fly out to Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic,” Andrew said. “I had already visited family in California. I even went to an Angels game.
“I drove out to Arizona, and then I end up getting that call saying, ‘Hey, you’re coming back to Anaheim. We need you here.’ I flew out the next morning, played that day, and got my first game in.”
And he did so with his family in the stands. Andrew has since spent time with both the Angels and Bees organizations over the last three seasons.
For Austin, 24, the call was not as simple. Fortunately, Andrew was with the Angels at the time.
“The Yankees (were) playing at our place,” Andrew said. “We were going into the last game and I get a message from one of the clubbies that said, ‘Joe wants to talk to you.’”
He was led to a lobby between the home and visitor locker rooms and opened a door to Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
“He said, ‘I’ve just got a quick question,’” Andrew said. “’Have you talked to your brother lately? Like today? He’s not answering his phone. Do you think you could give him a call or text him or something?’”
At the time, Austin was on the East Coast, preparing to travel home after completing his Triple-A season.
“Immediately, I’m thinking they’re calling him up,” Andrew said. “I start to panic. I feel like it’s me. I go back in (to the locker room) and I’m texting and texting; I’m calling and calling. Nothing. No answer. The last text was, ‘I’ve got to go out to BP. Joe Girardi wants to talk to you so you better call him now.’”
Austin got the message, got ahold of Girardi, and got on a plane for California.
“He shows up the next day at noon and it’s a 12:30 p.m. game,” Andrew said. “I had to bring things from home where he left some of his catcher stuff. He shows up, gets dressed, and runs out just in time for the (national) anthem.”
The best part: “He ends up going in that day and catching the last couple innings,” Andrew said. “I got to see him play his first major league baseball game, and my family was in the stands.”
Kevin was grateful for the serendipitous chain of events that allowed him and June to watch their boys take a major league field together.
“I cannot fully express how proud I was,” he said. “I was happier for each of them than I ever was for myself.”
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