Chris Kenney isn’t much of a picture taker.
But Thursday night, when the scoreboard at Marlins Park in Miami rolled the starting pitchers and her son’s name appeared, she was quick to grab her cell phone and snap a photo. The image is a bit blurry, and you can’t really make out ANDREW HEANEY, but she considers it a keepsake.
Your son doesn’t make his Major League debut every day.
A bunch of other phones captured similarly meaningful moments from Heaney’s big-league debut. Thirteen of the native Oklahoman’s family members made the trip to Florida for the game.
“We filled an entire row,” Chris said.
Every player isn’t so lucky.
The good fortune started with his wife’s family. After spring training, Andrew was assigned to the Double A affiliate in Jacksonville. It just so happens that Jordan Heaney has family there, so her mom, aunt and grandma thought it would be fun to make a trip to Jacksonville.
“We’re going to come and visit the family,” they told Jordan, “and then we’ll see him and see you.”
“Don’t set your plans,” Jordan told them. “There’s no telling where he could be. He could go up to Triple A.”
But as the season went on and Andrew stayed in Jacksonville, Jordan’s family decided to go ahead and plan a trip. They’d drive from Oklahoma City to Jacksonville.
“Sure enough,” Jordan said, “two weeks ... before they left, he called — ‘Hey, I’m going to Triple A.’”
Jordan called her family with the news. They were excited about Andrew being called up to New Orleans but disappointed about their foiled travel plans. After thinking about it, though, her mom, aunt and grandma decided to go ahead and make the drive. Jordan would still be in Jacksonville tying up loose ends, so they’d help her, then drive back to Oklahoma City with a detour to New Orleans.
Last Saturday, they left Oklahoma City.
Sunday night, Jordan called with news.
“He’s been called up to Miami,” she said.
The Marlins announced that Heaney would be starting Thursday against the Mets, so Jordan’s family decided to stay in Jacksonville a few days, then make the five-hour drive to Miami.
“For us, it worked out great,” Jordan’s mom, Jennifer Ore, said.
Andrew and Jordan have been together since their junior year at Putnam City High, where he starred in baseball and she did the same in golf. Since they’ve been together so long, he is more like a son than a son-in-law to the Ore family. He has gone on family vacations with them. He has stayed at their house. They even have pictures of him caddying for Jordan in one of her golf tournaments, the ORE name on the back of his caddy bib.
Still, had the timing been different, it’s likely that no one from Jordan’s family would’ve been able to be there.
“We got really lucky,” Jordan said.
And not just with her family. The fact that there were four days between his call up and his start gave Andrew’s family a chance to show up en masse. His mom. His dad. His step mom. His sisters. His brother-in-laws. A nephew. An uncle.