Stevens: Kyle 'Beep' Stiner's Nickname Didn't Come The Easy Way
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/10/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 10, 2011

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By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Nicknames are often given for loving reasons. The child has a certain quality or quirk, maybe a special characteristic or charm.

For Kyle "Beep" Stiner, it wasn't that easy. His nickname came from a machine's cry in the night; an electronic "beep" designed to pull a baby out of a deep and possibly killing sleep.

Kim Stiner doesn't doubt that she almost lost Kyle. The hero in this part of the story is Kyle's brother, Ryan.

Kyle, a healthy baby boy, was close to a month old when the family had gathered to watch TV. It was the summer of 1989. Kim needed to get up and do something and had to find a safe resting place for Kyle.

She could have placed Kyle in his crib or maybe on the floor, out of the way of foot traffic. Instead, she handed Kyle to his older brother. Kim believes that casual, spur-of-the-moment decision might have saved Kyle's life. "If I had placed him in his crib, I don't know what might have happened," she said.

Ryan was a six-year-old watching TV and easily could have been concentrating on the TV rather than the small bundle in his lap. But he looked down at baby brother and was upset with what he saw.

"Ryan said, `Mom, is he supposed to look like this?'" said Kim. "Kyle was completely white and blue around his lips. I grabbed him and picked him up and he immediately started breathing and looked at us like, `What are you doing?"

From there, Kyle went to the hospital and tests were done. Kyle was healthy, but his breathing was shallow. He was placed on an apnea monitor designed to wake him up with a loud noise, if his heartbeat dipped too low.

"It would wake us up, too," said Kim. "My husband, Ron, would sit up in bed and say, `There's the beep.' The family started calling him `Beep,' and it stuck."

The Beep wore the beeping monitor until he was about two-years-old. At that age, the threat was statistically over as lungs, heart -- and Kyle -- had strengthened. Infant apnea is not SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), but even the threat of SIDS is drastically reduced after the first year.

"The doctor told us we would have to trust that he is going to be OK," said Kim.

Said Beep: "My heart just started getting stronger. They decided I couldn't be hooked up to a machine the rest of my life and all the tests said my heart was fine, I just had a slow rate."

Beep is more than OK today. The strapping 6-foot-1 junior is the starting second baseman for the University of New Mexico with 47 starts in UNM's 48 games. He has a .292 batting average with a team-leading 195 at-bats and is tied for the No. 2 spot on the team with 57 hits.

One stat Beep isn't too happy with is the 11 errors he has committed and especially the first three miscues. They came in Tempe, Ariz., in front of friends and family and against Arizona State -- in his debut as a Lobo.

"I think I'm blocking that game out; memory loss," said Stiner, through a laugh. "I remember having a few errors. I think three. I was so excited to play against ASU. That was one of the schools I grew up wanting to go to. I guess there was some nerves."

Stiner was born in Phoenix, Ariz., moved to Arkansas for a few years and moved back to the Phoenix area for the third grade. He played high school ball at Mountain Ridge High in Glendale, Ariz., earned All-State honors and was scooped up by the Arizona Wildcats.

He played a season for the Arizona in 2009 where he played in 45 games while posting a .295 batting average. He said, "Things just didn't work out," and he transferred to Paradise Valley Community College for a season before moving on to become a Lobo.

"We had played New Mexico my freshman year at Arizona and when I went to junior college, my coach there got a call from Coach Birmingham," said Stiner. "I came on a visit and really liked it here."

Kim Stiner says almost everyone who knows her son calls him "Beep." She said she almost always addresses him as Kyle, but refers to him with friends and family as "Beep."

"That's just how everyone know him," she said.