Major League Baseball is bringing its All-Star Game to Southern California, as Dodger Stadium will play host to this year’s festivities for the first time since 1980. Once again, Long Beach will have representation in the All-Star Game as both Travis d’Arnaud (Lakewood HS) and Jeff McNeil (Long Beach State) were selected for the midsummer classic.
With d’Arnaud and McNeil both earning an All-Star nod, that gives Long Beach at least one representative in 15 of the last 16 All-Star Games. Going back further, Long Beach has failed to produce an All-Star just twice since 1989. This will also be the seventh All-Star game since 2008 with multiple Long Beach products.
d’Arnaud, 33, will be making his All-Star Game debut, representing the defending world champion Atlanta Braves. He’ll be just the second Lakewood alum to play in the All-Star Game, joining infielder Damian Easley who was selected in 1998. This season, among NL backstops with at least 200 plate appearances, d’Arnaud ranks fourth in home runs (11), third in RBIs (38) and ranks second with a .261 batting average.
“What makes it special is it’s in my hometown where I grew up learning the game of baseball,” said d’Arnaud to a gaggle of reporters after earning his All-Star nod. “It’s going to be cool. It’s special and I’m very thankful not only to the fans but to my peers who think I’m a good player.”
McNeil will make his second All-Star Game appearance for the New York Mets after being selected in 2019. McNeil has split time between second base and the outfield this season, and has put up terrific numbers at the plate. The 30-year-old leads all NL second basemen with his .304 batting average and .367 on-base percentage this season. He’s also added 19 doubles and 35 RBIs for the Mets.
In the week leading up to the All-Star Break, McNeil stepped away from the Mets in order to be with his wife, Tatiana, for the birth of their first child. McNeil’s son, Lucas, was born last Wednesday and his first baseball game will be at Dodger Stadium, watching his dad play in the All-Star Game.
“(The past five days) have been pretty magical,” McNeil told reporters after rejoining the team in New York. “Making an All-Star Game and the birth of our child is pretty special. I couldn’t have asked for a better few days.”
McNeil is slated to start at second base for the National League All-Stars and bat ninth.
The MLB All-Star Game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. PT first pitch on Tuesday night and will be televised on FOX.