This was supposed to be a truly magical Spring for Tai and Ricky Tiedemann. Two of the six Tiedemann brothers, the sons of Rick and Mimi Tiedemann, both brothers were poised for big seasons on the diamond, Tai as a Minor Leaguer with big expectations in the Rangers’ organization, and Ricky as the senior ace for Lakewood High.
Ricky has been a well-known talent in the area since his days as a standout player in the Lakewood Heartwell youth program, and has popped onto the national scene in the last 12 months. He committed to San Diego State last spring, but after adding a changeup in the offseason and with a growth spurt pushing his fastball into the mid-90s, he’s rocketed up the projected draft boards.
“At the end of last year I didn’t have many looks,” he said. “I felt really good coming in this year, I felt like I was going to run the whole Moore League.”
Ricky has been keeping busy by staying in touch with scouts from just about every MLB team via FaceTime and Zoom. He’s lucky to have a resource in his older brother, Tai, who took a circuitous route to pro baseball.
Tai quarterbacked Poly to the 2012 CIF football championship, then returned to his childhood sport of baseball his senior year of high school. After a standout season, he went to LBCC where he led the state of California in triples at the JC level, earning him an eighth round draft pick by the Rangers.
Tai was supposed to be playing Advanced A ball with the Down East Wood Ducks this season, with big expectations to break through to the next level.
“It’s just a regular offseason for me except that it’s May,” he said. “I wish we could go outside, but we’ve got a house full of brothers so we’re keeping each other entertained.”
Tai and Ricky have been going to the East Long Beach baseball fields and having a catcher sit behind the plate to simulate a 60 foot mound, and working out with each other as often as possible.
They’re also eating quite a bit.
“My dad says he goes to the grocery store and people think he’s hoarding, and he’s just like, ‘This is a regular trip,’” said
Tai remembers the uncertainty of his draft experience. He had only been playing competitive baseball for two years and wasn’t certain whether he was going to be drafted as an outfielder or a pitcher.
“My dad was basically my agent, we just said whatever happens, happens,” said Tai. “It’s definitely a different process for Ricky.”
That doesn’t mean that the brothers have been all business. They filmed a parody of the Netflix smash documentary series “Tiger King,” with Tai starring as Joe Exotic. The video went viral on social media.
“My girlfriend Sammie and I watched the show and I said, ‘I have a great idea,’ so I ran out and told Ricky about it,” said Tai. “I was laughing myself to sleep about it.”
They’re also spending a lot of time playing video games, although big brother Tai has long since established dominance over the younger brothers in the house.
“I pretty much stopped playing video games when I was growing up because he made it not fun,” Ricky said.
While the video game rivalry remains heated, the two have been supportive of each other during this shutdown, when both expected to be playing at a high level but are instead in “wait and see” mode.
“Tai paved the way for me, I wouldn’t be where I am now without him,” said Ricky.
“Everything I did I knew if I did it the right way it would open doors for him,” said Tai. “I just wanted him to get there the best way, the fastest way possible, instead of going football to baseball to JuCo to the pros.”