There’s A South Dakota Connection In Postseason Baseball
There is truly nothing better than postseason baseball. Every team playing in October has a fresh new start, and they are all fighting for the same goal, a shot at the World Series Championship!
Even though the Minnesota Twins (otherwise known as the favorite team in the Sioux Empire) are not playing postseason baseball, there is one team in the playoffs with a South Dakota connection. Some South Dakotans might even remember this individual on the pitching mound for South Dakota State University.
If you're a Jackrabbits fan, then you are probably familiar with the name Blake Treinen. He was a right-handed pitcher from Kansas playing for the Jackrabbits in 2010 and 2011. Now, he's fighting for a World Series title with his team...The Los Angeles Dodgers.
This is not Blake Treinen's first time in a playoff situation. He was part of the excitement during last year’s shortened season when the Dodgers were victorious over the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series! That was a six-game series, and the Dodgers' first championship in 32 years.
Blake Treinen was initially drafted by the Oakland A's in 2011 during the seventh round. Following his one-year stint with the A's, Blake was traded to the Washington Nationals in 2013. He actually did not officially make the 40-man roster as a starting pitcher and reliever until 2014. He had another round with Oakland from 2017 to 2019 and has been with the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2020.
Believe it or not, Blake Treinen is only one of three major league baseball players that hails from South Dakota State University. The first Jackrabbit in the majors was a guy named Vean Gregg. He was a pitcher that made his MLB debut in 1911 playing on various teams like the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Naps (now known as the Cleveland Indians and soon to be called the Cleveland Guardians).
Another Jackrabbit currently in the league is Caleb Thielbar, a pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. Caleb was born and raised in Minnesota, so it's fitting that he is with his hometown team. He has only really played for the Twins at the major league level. Thielbar was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers and spent a number of seasons with various organizations in the MLB farm system. He signed a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins for the second time in December of 2019 and was moved to the team’s active 40-man roster in August of 2020.
It sure is fun to cheer on athletes with a South Dakota connection in the big games! Let's hope Blake Treinen helps the Dodgers bring home another title. But, if by chance the “Baseball Gods” dictate a World Series contest with my home team (the Chicago White Sox), then all bets are off!