A journey that began on the baseball fields at El Dorado, Heartwell, and Whaley Park reached a major milestone on Saturday at Chavez Ravine. Long Beach natives Spencer Steer and Ricky Tiedemann both appeared in the 2022 MLB All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium, placing both players among the brightest young stars in baseball.
Steer, 24, was a graduate of Millikan High before attending the University of Oregon. His bat-to-ball skills made him a 3rd Round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 2019 draft, but his newfound power stroke has elevated him to an enticing prospect. Steer has 19 home runs in just 74 minor league games this season, including 11 at the Triple-A level.
“Spencer, the work that he’s put in, I mean he’s the hardest working kid I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Millikan assistant coach Keven Gail, who was among a group of more than 50 people there to support Steer. “You know our saying, ‘Once a Ram, Always a Ram’ and it’s really showing up here today.”
Spencer’s dad, Chris, struggled to keep the smile off his face as he worked the concourse in his black and red “LB” hat, shaking hands and receiving congratulations before the game.
“We’re very happy for Spencer and obviously very proud of him,” Chris said. “We had no expectations since he’s been on this baseball journey, but he’s truly blessed to be with the Twins organization. They’re taking such great care of him and they believe in him. We have no expectations going forward, we just hope he stays healthy and happy and enjoys the ride.”
Steer entered the Futures Game in the bottom of the fourth inning as a defensive replacement at second base. He got a quick chance defensively with a ground ball to his left and handled it with ease. He then went 0/2 at the plate with a strikeout and a flyout to centerfield.
Tiedemann was slated to appear in the fifth inning, leaving a large contingent of his supporters waiting nervously for his moment to arrive. Nearly 100 friends, family members, and former coaches were there to cheer him on, with many of them clad in custom white shirts featuring the Blue Jays logo on the front and, of course, “Tiedemann” across the back. Included in that group was Ricky’s older brother, Tai Tiedemann, who rushed to Dodger Stadium off two hours' sleep after his game with the Frisco RoughRiders–Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Ricky’s contingent was one of the loudest for any Futures Game participant, made possible since the game was just a short drive from his hometown.
“That you can’t even anticipate,” said Ricky’s mom, Mimi, on the good fortune of having the game in LA. “But to have this kind of support ever since he’s been a baby is awesome. To have coaches from little league to high school, everything, it’s been extraordinary.”
It was also probably beyond anyone’s wildest expectations–even among those clad in the Tiedemann white tees. Given that Ricky is a 19-year-old pitcher who had his senior year of high school taken away due to COVID, his rise from 3rd round draft pick to Futures Game selection in less than a year is remarkable.
“We’re super excited and super thrilled with how early it was,” said Mimi, on her son making the Futures Game in his first professional season. “But realistically, we’re just happy for him for the experience. And that Tai could be a part of it too, we love it.”
Tiedemann entered as scheduled in the fifth inning and worked a 1-2-3 inning for the American League, sitting 94-95 mph on his fastball while also showing off his slider. He got a comebacker on the first pitch he threw, and needed just nine total pitches to retire the side. His final out was against Darren Baker, top prospect for the Nationals and son of current Houston Astros manager, Dusty Baker.
There were only three players at this year’s Futures Game younger than Tiedemann, who will remain a teenager until Aug. 18. This may not be his last appearance in the Futures Game, but it will surely be his most memorable.
With Steer and Tiedemann making their appearances this year, Long Beach has now had 13 representatives at the Futures Game since it was established in 1999. It’s the first time since 2010 that the city had multiple players competing.
Following the All-Star Break, Steer will return to the Triple-A St. Paul Saints, on the doorstep of a potential big league call-up. Meanwhile, Tiedemann will be back with the High-A Vancouver Canadians where he’s made eight of his 14 professional starts so far.
Here is a list of every Long Beach ballplayer who has appeared in the MLB All-Star Futures Game:
2022: Spencer Steer, Ricky Tiedemann
2019: Jarren Duran
2015: J.P. Crawford
2014: J.P. Crawford
2013: Joey Terdoslavich
2012: Travis d’Arnaud, Jonathan Singleton
2010: Danny Espinosa
2009: Danny Espinosa
2007: Evan Longoria
2006: Troy Tulowitzki
2004: Jeremy Reed
2001: Sean Burroughs, Chase Utley
2000: Sean Burroughs (MVP)