The home opener was over for the Rangers, and they’d lost to the Rockies. But Taylor Hearn, their 6-foot-6 starter out of Royse City, Texas, had given his team a chance, working out of big jams in the second and fourth innings and finally allowing the Rockies just one run on eight hits in his four innings, while striking out six. Hearn is getting a big chance with the Rangers this season. This was the start of it on Monday afternoon.
Then it was time for his postgame interview, and one of the questions came from the sports director at Channel 6 in Wichita Falls, CBS affiliate KAUZ, a 24-year old up-and-comer doing hits at both 6 and 11, Monday through Friday.
“I had been thinking the whole game what I wanted to ask him,” Robyn Hearn told me Tuesday morning. “I wanted to make sure I worded it in the best way possible. So I decided to ask about how he’d pushed through trouble in the second and the fourth.”
So she asked her older brother about “pushing” through in those innings, and finished up this way:
“Was there somebody in the stands or in the press box that you were itching to kind of do well for because their job is on the line depending on what you say today?”
If you haven’t seen what happened next, you can watch it here (and at the top of this story), a moment about family and faith and brothers and sisters, and just how fine sports can look and sound sometimes.
“I didn’t know he was going to go that far,” Robyn Hearn said from her car on Tuesday, making the two-hour drive back to Wichita Falls. “I didn’t expect that at all.”
She was referring to the end of his answer, when he talked about how supportive she had been when they were growing up, and the sacrifices she had made in her own life, in gymnastics and cheerleading, so that he could be sitting where he was sitting on Monday night, having just pitched the opener at Globe Life Field for the Rangers.
“I didn’t really care if we won the game or lost,” he said, “or whatever, I was just more happy to see you, that you were here. So as a big brother, that means a lot to me.”
And his sister said, “Thanks for making me cry. I’m proud of you.”
Robyn Hearn went to Oklahoma State, after spending most of her life before that thinking her own dream was to be a fashion designer. But by her senior year in high school, she said, she saw that State had a sports media program, and she thought she would minor in that. She had always loved telling stories. She loved the idea of maybe being on TV someday.
The day she showed up for orientation, her father told her she should change her major.
“Something just clicked,” she said. “I knew if I was going to do it, I had to do it now. I never even considered changing my major back after that. And since then, one door after another has opened for me.”
Over this same period in the life of the Hearn family, her brother, once a star at Royse City High, was going from the Nationals organization to the Pirates, finally to the Rangers. He came up with inflammation in his pitching elbow in 2019, then fractured it during rehab. But by last season, he posted a 6-6 record with the Rangers. Now he is in their rotation. The Royse City kid, now 27 years old, was the one who got the ball Monday.
“My news director had already given me permission to go to the home opener,” she said, “so I had my credential set. Then last weekend I found out that my brother was going to get the start.”
She wasn’t the only member of the family at Rockies vs. Rangers. Her mom and dad were there. So were three of her father’s brothers. Her mom’s oldest and youngest brothers were there, with their families. Robyn’s godmother was there. A couple of cousins.
“It was like a family reunion, around my brother out there on the mound,” she said.
She said that for all the talk about Taylor making her cry after the game, she nearly did the same before it.
“I always get emotional when he pitches, believe me,” she said. “But to see him in a moment like this, on an elevated stage like this, well, you can just imagine.”
I asked her about the sacrifices her brother had referenced.
“Our parents had to make some tough decisions about where the money would be spent on sports,” she said. “’Taylor needs new cleats, but there’s cheer camp for Robyn.’ Like that. Neither one of us ever went without a lot. But there were a lot of times when he didn’t get the bat or glove he wanted, either.”
I asked her finally how the station liked the attention it had gotten because of that sweet postgame moment with her brother.
“I think,” Robyn Hearn said, “they’re very happy with what has come from yesterday.”
They always tell you in this business, at Oklahoma State and everywhere else, about how sometimes all you have to do is ask the right question. Robyn Hearn did that Monday night. Her brother took it from there.