Colorado Rockies: Ty Blach lives his faith despite series of challenges

While he was in Triple-A on the way to the Major Leagues, Ty Blach of the Colorado Rockies earned the nickname, “The Preacher.”

The nickname has stuck with the left-hander to this day and is a testament to how the Denver native and fifth-round draft choice by the San Francisco Giants in 2012 continues to live out his faith during what has been a tumultuous professional baseball career.

Nicknamed “The Preacher,” Colorado Rockies pitcher Ty Blach is a man of faith.

For Blach, an all-Missouri Valley Conference selection while he competed collegiately at Creighton University, Blach made his first Opening Day roster in 2017 and was San Francisco’s Opening Day starter in 2018. In that contest, he hurled five scoreless innings while allowing just three hits.

But then in an intrasquad game during Spring Training 2.0 in early July 2020, the graduate of Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo., suffered an injury that led to Tommy John surgery on his left elbow less than a week later.

Not to be denied, Blach returned to professional baseball by competing across three levels of Baltimore’s Minor League system in 2021 following his surgery before he was eventually released by the Orioles in August 2020.

But it wasn’t until 2022 that he made his first return to the Majors since 2019 after the Colorado Rockies signed him to a Minor League deal in December 2021 and he claimed a spot on the club’s Opening Day roster while serving four stints with the franchise during the campaign.

“That’s just kind of been how my career has gone,” the 32-year-old said. “I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, at times, and it’s just kind of perseverance and just trusting my process (by) continuing to put in the work (and) finding little tweaks here and there. Things that can make me better and just enjoying every opportunity I can right now.”

A big part of the process that Blach trusts is his faith.

“When I was in Triple-A, Johnny Doskow, who is now one of the (Oakland) A’s broadcasters, started calling me ‘The Preacher’ on the air,” he said about how he gained the nickname.

“I’ve always lived my faith out, just kind of pretty openly and I think he just took to that and that’s where he came up with the Preacher … and it just kind of stuck.”

As part of living out his faith, Blach carries on his baseball glove a scripture verse from the Bible — Psalm 27:14. That verse reads: Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

“It just kind of keeps you grounded in my faith and reminds me that, no matter what’s going on in the game, there’s a lot bigger purpose for why I’m here and this chance that God’s given me to go out and compete and play for Him,” Blach said.

“So, it just kind of keeps me grounded, keeps me in the moment and allows me to enjoy where I am.”

Blach has taken that scripture verse with him to the diamond for the last eight years.

“I started using that one on my glove in 2015,” he said. “I had a mental skills coach. He was also a man of faith and he kind of shared that one with me. The next outing I went out, and when things were getting tough, I repeated that (verse) to myself and it just really helped me to stay in the moment. I really hung on to that one after that.”

Now in his second season with the Rox, Blach has pitched well enough recently that he has become part of the starting rotation. Through action of August 15, he has a 1-1 record and a 4.14 earned run average.

In his last seven outings, including five starts, he has carded a nifty 2.36 ERA (26.2 IP, 7 ER) with six walks and 12 strikeouts despite receiving only five runs of support from the Rox offense during that stretch.

But the 2023 season hasn’t come without its ups and downs.

Before his recent string of quality performances, Blach was designated for assignment by Colorado on April 29 before clearing waivers and returning to the franchise. He was then sent outright to Triple-A Albuquerque on May 2. He was called up by the Rockies on June 30 and has made six appearances through August 15.

So, the 2023 season — just like much of Blach’s earlier professional baseball career — has been filled with challenges to test his faith.

“I think my faith is what keeps me grounded and allows me to keep going every single day,” he said. “No matter if things are going good or bad. Just staying grounded in the Lord and just trusting that He’s got a greater plan for us and doing my best to live a life that’s worthy of everything that He’s given us.”