DENVER — Ty Blach grew up sleeping under Rockies sheets, surrounded by team memorabilia in his childhood bedroom.
He knew every player on the roster, and attended 30 to 40 games a year at Coors Field, sitting in the first row of section 203. Blach got to every game early, armed with his allowance, so he could play the speed pitch game. Then he would promptly take his seat, never missing a single minute of the game. There's even a brick outside the stadium that says 'Ty Blach, little cat, future Rockie.'
And on Sunday, after a long journey back from Tommy John surgery, Blach finally got to pitch for the team he grew up cheering for. He did so in memorable fashion, pitching four scoreless innings of relief in the Rockies' 9-4 win over the Dodgers.
"It hasn't quite set in yet," Blach, covered in a beer shower and wearing the MVP chain, said. "It's a dream come true. It's one of the most wonderful things that's ever happened to me."
Blach, who graduated from Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, made his MLB debut for the Giants at Coors Field in 2016. Then life took a turn, and a elbow injury led to Tommy John surgery. He was out of the major leagues for two years, and doubt started to creep in that he would ever make it back.
But then one December day his phone rang. It was manager Bud Black, telling him he wanted to sign him and explaining what his vision was for Blach.
"When a guy grows up a fan of the team that he roots for, to go and end up playing for that team, it's so cool," Black said.
He signed as a non-roster invite, and reported to minor league camp at the beginning of March. With MLB players still locked out, the major league staff got to spend extra time with him. They liked what they saw, sending him out for the first spring training game a few weeks later. Blach continued to prove himself, earning a spot on the team.
On Sunday, with the Rockies holding on to a 6-4 lead, Blach trotted out for his Rockies' debut, and his first major league action in over two years. He was amped up to face his first batter, but he walked Cody Bellinger. Then he hit his grove, so much so that his catcher Elias Díaz advocated for him to stay in for the ninth. Blach struck out four in his four-inning save.
"Ty was outstanding. I told him on the field that I'm proud of him," Black said. "He was awesome."
Blach read the Dinger book, which details the origin of the Rockies mascot, every night growing up before he went to bed. He never doubted that he would be a Rockie, and on Sunday he finally got to live his dream with his family sitting proudly in the stands cheering him on.
"It's very special to see him come back from his injuries and being away from baseball," Blach's father Randy said. "This is where all his childhood memories are. It's pretty hard to put into words what today was all about and what it meant to all of us."