He’s a Disney story in the making. At least, that’s what former Minor League Baseball pitcher and coach Don Czyz has to say about Blake Treinen.
Treinen, a Kansas native and pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, was recently named to the American League’s All-Star roster for the game in Washington D.C. on July 17.
Before he met Czyz, Treinen attended Osage City High School. Upon graduation, Treinen went to Baker University to play baseball. He transferred to Arkansas in 2008 and attempted to walk on to the baseball team but was denied the opportunity to try out. Then, he met Czyz.
Treinen wasn’t a player who had it easy. After getting rejected at Arkansas, he began to get frustrated. One day, Czyz stumbled upon him at a camp. Czyz gave Treinen pitching lessons in the offseason, when he was in between colleges after leaving Arkansas.
Later, Czyz connected him with Richie Price at South Dakota State.
“South Dakota State was the first time he got a real shot, not just a spot on the roster,” Treinen said. “It took a while to get there. I admire him for the way he persevered even though people kept telling him no.”
Watching Treinen throughout the years has been a wild ride for Czyz. Two years ago, when Treinen was with the Washington Nationals, Czyz was able to go to a game and reconnect.
Since leaving baseball, Czyz now works at Black and Veatch as a project controls manager. Even though he doesn’t talk to Treinen often, he’s excited to see what lies ahead for the native Kansan.
When Czyz found out that Treinen was named to the All-Star Game, he was thrilled.
“I don’t think it could have happened to a better guy. Just watching his career and the challenges that he’s overcome is great,” Czyz said.
As far as Czyz is concerned, there’s only one box left to check on Treinen's career to-do list.
“I think the only thing left to do is to have Disney get their hands on this," Czyz said. "This is a classical Disney movie in the making: He had meeker beginnings and now he’s on one of the biggest stages in the world.”