Robertson inspired by mom, Baylor's Mulkey

March 10th, 2020

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Minutes earlier, crushed by the weight of the whistle, Kim Mulkey’s Baylor Lady Bears had a rare encounter with the agony of defeat. Felled by late free throws from Iowa State in the team's Big 12 regular-season finale on Sunday, Coach Mulkey’s team was beaten in conference play for the first time in more than three years.

Imagine, then, how disappointed Mulkey must have been when she stepped into the postgame press interview room.

And then imagine how excited she must have been when she looked up and saw her son on a TV across the room. That was her boy, Kramer Robertson, up there on the screen and in the Cardinals dugout during a Grapefruit League game against the Marlins. Recently (and surprisingly) summoned to camp when infielder Yairo Muñoz went AWOL -- and has since been released -- the 25-year-old Robertson quickly caught the eye of his mom.

“There he is!” she suddenly exclaimed. “There’s my boy! In the dugout right there!”

A day later, Mulkey fondly recalled this heart-warming motherhood moment.

“I always believe timing is everything,” she said. “That might have been the only shot they showed of their dugout. I’m so glad I got to witness that. That’s pretty neat.”

Also neat is the opportunity Robertson, a fourth-round Draft pick by St. Louis in 2017, has here to make an impression with big league eyes upon him.

Of course, he’s always had his mother’s attention. Mulkey’s acclaimed career as a three-time national champion head coach hasn’t prevented her from being her son’s biggest and most attentive fan. Behind the exterior of the reliably fierce and fiery coach is a loving, doting mom.

“That’s what people don’t realize,” Robertson said. “She’s just a normal person, so relatable and so down to earth. She’s more proud of her kids’ accomplishments than any accomplishment she’s ever had. That’s awesome, the support she shows me.”

Robertson has had a whirlwind couple of weeks. On Feb. 29, around 5 p.m. local time in Waco, Texas, he was getting ready to attend his mom’s game when he got the call that his services were needed in big league camp because Muñoz had left the team. He frantically packed his bags for the next seven months of his life, and he was even more hurried because he already had plans to pick his girlfriend up at the airport in Dallas, 90 miles north, that night. So he made the there-and-back commute to the airport, returned home around midnight and then had to be back on the road to the same airport at 3 a.m. to catch his 7 a.m. flight to West Palm Beach, Fla.

In the car with him for that last drive? His mom, of course.

“She had a flight out of Dallas around the same time to go on a recruiting trip,” he said with a laugh.

Added Mulkey: “I hugged his neck, and off he went. It was so quick. Then he got [to Florida], did his physical and then was thrown into a game the next day when he hasn’t seen live pitching or anything. As a coach, that’s what you call throwing them to the wolves.”

Likely ticketed for Triple-A Memphis, where he was promoted midway through 2019, Robertson is trying to soak up every moment of this unexpected experience. He knows familiarity can aid him should a Major League opening present itself this season.

But Mulkey is vicariously soaking it all up, too.

“She wants to know everything I do, every day in camp -- who I talk to, who I’m learning from,” Robertson said. “She’s totally invested in everything I’m doing here. She can relate to me in a different way than most moms because of her career, and I think I can talk to her in a different way than most kids can with their mom. It’s a special relationship that we have.”

And it extends to Mulkey’s daughter, Makenzie, who is on her staff at Baylor. While Sunday’s loss was a setback, the goal for the national tournament, where the Lady Bears are the defending champs, remains the same.

“They’re winning it all,” Robertson said. “Back to back, I’m calling it now.”

Whatever happens, the son will be keeping tabs on his mom’s team.

And vice versa.