By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
The biggest thrill in the careers of Tyler and Scott Heineman was playing against each other in a three-game series in college. What keeps the baseball brothers going strong is their hope that they’ll soon face each other again—in the Major Leagues.
The native Palisadians hosted the inaugural Prime Time Charity Casino Classic last Wednesday night at the Buffalo Club in Santa Monica and the poker tournament/silent auction raised money for the 501(c)(3) organization devoted to providing programs for at-risk children from low-income areas of Los Angeles that combine academics, athletics, leadership training, and the arts. The brothers have volunteered for Team Prime Time since 2014 and they remain committed to giving back to their community through organizations impacting the lives of youth.
The Heinemans grew up on Radcliffe in the Via Bluffs. Tyler, 27, is a catcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2012 out of UCLA. He and his wife Elizabeth got married earlier this month in Agoura Hills and his brother was the best man.
“I was a tough older brother and as a kid I pushed him because if he did bad it reflected on me and I had to pick up the slack,” Tyler admits. “In high school the tables turned. Scott became bigger, faster and stronger, so he pushed me.”
Tyler played goalie for the LA Junior Kings but ultimately chose baseball. While he has no regrets, he wonders what might have been.
“I miss skating, I miss making saves and being on the ice..a few of the guys I played with are in the NHL now,” says Tyler, a catcher who spent last season with the Biloxi Shuckers and Colorado Springs Sky Sox, minor league affiliates of the Milwaukee Brewers. “My dad told me in 10th grade I was going to have to focus on one sport or the other. I probably had a chance to play hockey in college. Goalie is challenging but there are so many aspects to catching. You have to block and throw but you also have to manage the pitchers.”
Tyler played in the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association until he was 10 and won a championship with the Red Sox, coached by none other than his dad, Steve.
Scott, 27, is an outfielder for the Texas Rangers, the organization that drafted him in 2015 out of the University of Oregon. He was named Rangers 2018 Minor League Prospect of the Year by MLB Pipeline after batting .295 and slugging .429 with 11 home runs, 67 RBI, 20 doubles and 16 stolen bases for the Triple-A Round Rock Express.
“Being a year and a half older, my brother wanted all his friends to know,” Scott recalls. “When I wasn’t cutting it he told me ‘You have to be better if you want to play with us.’ By the time we got to college that competitiveness turned to straight love.”
Both boys went to PS1, then to Windward but after middle school Scott transferred to Crespi High in Encino.
“The minors are a grind, but my dream is to play big league ball and I’m waiting for that day I get the call,” Scott says. “We talk to each other a lot when one of us is in a slump, but not hot streaks. I enjoy coming home in the offseason and going to Pali Park where I played. The fields used to look so big to me… but not anymore.”