For Cubs’ Justin Steele, All-Star Week has been a family affair
For two straight years, Justin Steele has had unforgettable birthdays.
In 2022, Steele and his fiancé, Libby, welcomed their first-born son, Beau. This season, he partook in the 2023 All-Star Game for the first time in his life.
“Me and my family have talked about that a lot,” Steele said Monday in Seattle during All-Star Game media availability. “It’s a really cool experience that — not only my birthday, my son’s first birthday, but the fact that it’s an All-Star Game, my first All-Star Game, it’s a truly special day.
“Something I’ll never forget, nor will my family.”
Steele pitched a scoreless bottom of the 5th inning against the American League. Steele induced a flyout to Texas’ Adolis García, allowed a single to Baltimore’s Austin Hays and then a soft grounder from the Rangers’ Josh Jung that produced a nifty play by third baseman Austin Riley to get an out at first base.
“That was sick,” Steele said of Riley’s defense. “Fellow Mississippian making a play for me. I remember a junior or senior in high school and me and Austin Riley played some ball together. He was the best hitter and pitcher on our team, as a sophomore.
“To see him out there is no surprise, honestly.”
The lefty ended his inning by striking out Texas’ Jonah Heim on 3 pitches.
“Experience I’ll never forget,” Steele said after exiting the game. “For it be on mine and my son’s birthday makes it more special.”
This experience has been more than just for himself. Across the festivities in Seattle, his son, Beau, has been close by.
The Home Run Derby? Beau was there in the dugout with his dad.
The Red Carpet arrival on Tuesday? Beau was there with Mom and Dad, making sure to grab at a microphone, too, to make his presence known.
“It’s been awesome,” Steele said Tuesday on the Red Carpet. “We’re enjoying it. All the festivities. My family’s loving it. It’s a lot of fun.
“This is amazing. I couldn’t imagine any [better birthday].”
Birthday All-Stars 🤩 pic.twitter.com/jMVI65AL5s— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) July 11, 2023
The icing on the cake came Tuesday afternoon when he pitched a scoreless 5th inning. He was one of three Cub All-Stars this year, but the only one to be present in Seattle after Dansby Swanson suffered an injury and Marcus Stroman chose not to participate.
He’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball, but many fans across the league might not know him. After Tuesday, though, his name will be a little more commonplace in baseball. And so might Beau’s.
“I’ve done a lot of reflecting,” Steele said Monday. “For me, the most fun being here has just been being able to see my family and friends enjoy everything. That’s kind of been the coolest part for me.”