First the phone calls from Seth Beer’s advisor came to his dad’s phone just after the two got in on a red-eye flight from Arizona. Beer’s dad had already fallen asleep, and so each call went unanswered. The calls came to Beer’s phone next, but he was too groggy to bother.
Finally, when the next call came to the Beer’s house phone, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Lambert rising junior outfielder and pitcher answered out of concern.
“I expected the worse,” Beer said, “like one of our buddies got hurt or something like that.”
Instead, his advisor had good news – Beer had been chosen as one of just two underclassmen to play in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Baseball Game at Wrigley Field on Aug. 16. The game will be televised on MLB Network at 8:05 p.m., EST, the culmination of four days of baseball activities that include workouts in front of MLB scouts and a home run derby.
“It was good to find out it was good news,” Beer said, “especially for something that I’ve really wanted to do.”
It’s just the latest chapter in Beer’s rise to prominence in baseball circles. Beer was named the Forsyth County News’ 2014 Baseball Player of the Year and a Louisville Slugger High School All-American after helping Lambert win the Class AAAAAA championship and finish No. 1 in two national rankings this past season. He dominated high school pitching, hitting .589 with 10 home runs and 56 RBIs, while going 6-0 on the mound with a 0.53 ERA in 39 1/3 innings.
Now, Beer will get to see how he compares alongside future draft picks and Division I college signees. Of the 32 rising seniors selected, 21 were on the MaxPreps list of the top 50 juniors this past season.
It’s the kind of national stage even the precocious Beer hasn’t experienced yet. And so he’s eager to soak it all in as an underclassmen – the mystique of Wrigley Field, the camaraderie among the nation’s elite, the scrutiny from professional scouts – in hopes it might aid him next year.
“I’m really putting myself out there as a young guy,” Beer said. “To make sure I would be ready for the next year when I have to do it all over again. Just to kind of get my feet wet, and also just to meet new friends from all over the United States that have the same love to play the game.”
Beer said he’s most enamored by the chance to see the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field. While the rest of MLB stadiums have updated player accommodations to virtually country club status, the Cubs’ visitors’ locker room is infamous for being antiquated and small.
That’s fine with Beer. He just can’t help but think of the names that have walked through that clubhouse – Gehrig, Mantle, Ruth and more.
“It might be small and stuff, but just the amount of history that’s going to be in there is going to be crazy,” Beer said. “Just to walk through it, take a breath and be like, wow, I’m in the same area as these guys were. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”