No wonder, then, that Bleich was drafted by the New York Yankees last June. He signed in August and is now on the Yankees’ High A team, located in Tampa, Florida. “That’s big for someone right out of college,” Fitzgerald says.
Bleich says it’s all in a day’s work: Playing professionally is a job, after all, and therefore very different from playing in high school or college. “It’s a grind,” Bleich says. “You play six and seven games a week, whereas in college, you play four or five.”
Bleich was heavily recruited when he was at Newman; he wound up choosing Stanford and played for the Cardinal for three years before signing with the Yankees. He plans to return to Stanford in the fall to finish his undergraduate studies in economics and communications.
Does he hope to make it all the way to New York? “I don’t really think about it like that,” he says. “Everything has happened so quickly – I just kind of go with the flow, do what I am told and try to get better every day and see where I end up.”
Bleich says Newman gave him the ability to be a student-athlete at Stanford, teaching him how to balance academics and athletes and excel in both. He remains very close to Coach Fitz. “What Coach Fitz has done at Newman is unlike anything I have ever heard of,” Bleich says. “He is just one of a kind.”