Tyler and Scott Heineman’s parents could not witness this piece of their family history firsthand. They saw the blood, sweat and tears that went into lives devoted to baseball, watched as their boys both grinded their way from little league to the major leagues, but had to watch from home the first time they faced off against each other.
Their father, though, will have a good sense of the sweat that went into a game he couldn’t watch from the stands.
After the 7-3 Giants win Friday night, the Heinemen met behind plate (from a distance and wearing masks), talking briefly about what just happened. They posed for pictures and exchanged jerseys, though it’s a trade their father will win.
“My dad had texted us both this morning saying he would love to have the jerseys that we wore today,” Tyler Heineman said on a Zoom call after his eventful day. “We just figured we’d do something kind of special.”
From the start, that’s what they did. For Scott Heineman, a Rangers outfielder, this was his 28th game, while it was No. 11 for older brother Tyler. Tyler Heineman, 29, is conscious about how fleeting this dream can be, having spent eight seasons in the minors.
He hopes this will be the first of many matchups, but knows nothing is guaranteed. The Southern California native assumed he would get emotional trying to soak everything in, but did not count on the game interfering.
“All the emotions going on and all the adrenaline,” Tyler Heineman said, reflecting on his thought process of when Scott Heineman stepped into the batters’ box. “You just take it as another hitter. And then after the game, probably when I go home tonight and talk to my family is when I’ll really be able to let it sink in and and reflect on it.”
He will want to absorb the feeling from the first eight innings and perhaps forget about the ninth. The Giants got the win, but Scott stepped into a Sam Selman offering in the ninth for a homer, Tyler having to watch his brother round the bases.
It’s not the first time, either. Tyler said they had faced each other twice in the minor leagues with the exact same statline each time: 1-for-4 with a home run.
They can discuss the game on the phone, Tyler saying he was planning on calling his parents soon and Scott surely doing the same. What they cannot really do is, beyond their brief jersey exchange, discuss the game or life face-to-face.
No fans, including their parents, are allowed in the stands. And due to the COVID-19 regulations, there is not much interacting between teams.
“No dinner, no hanging out in the hotel room or anything like that,” said Tyler, who has become the Giants’ primary catcher in the early going. “We understand both from a safety standpoint and from a career standpoint that if one of us goes down … we’re day to day.”
Neither has established himself yet, both knowing these good times can end. They’re holding on to what they can right now.
And their father will too.
“It was extremely special,” Tyler said, “and it’s something that we’re never going to forget.”