1 Thru 9: Jordan Bach
By JOE McFARLAND & IAN WILSON
You can call him a “Bach” catcher.
But Jordan Bach has done more than just frame pitches for the Fort McMurray Giants of the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL).
The British Columbia product helped the Giants secure their first franchise playoff berth last summer, and he is back to help the team do it again this year.
The 2022 WCBL All-Star has suited up in 77 games and counting for the Giants, batting .329 with 55 runs batted in (RBI), 46 runs, three homers and five stolen bases.
Bach was a guest recently on Alberta Dugout Stories: The Podcast to discuss his baseball journey. We looked at nine questions and answers from that interview for this edition of “1 Thru 9” series. Here’s what he had to say:
1. You’re back for another year in Fort McMurray. What was it about the Giants that made you want to head up to northern Alberta for another summer?
They treat us so well out here. They really treat us like professionals. I have so much respect for the owner, the general manager and the coach this year. They really made us feel like pros and it’s just something I loved to be a part of last year.
2. Is there a sense of unfinished business, as well? You made it to the playoffs last year, but is there an extra gear to be had?
Absolutely, last year was very big for us. Making the playoffs was a goal but now this year it’s not just about making the playoffs, we’re trying to finish what we started last year. I had some of the guys reach out to me from last year that they were coming back and it’s just really exciting that we might be able to do something really special this year.
3. How do you assess the Fort McMurray Giants in 2023, compared to last year?
We could pitch last year and it looks like we can do the exact same thing again this year … we can hit this year, too, and our defense has been spot on, so it doesn’t seem like this team is going to be carried by pitching as much. We’re a little bit more well-rounded.
4. You’re a veteran on the Giants. What are you telling the newbies on the team as far as what to expect in the WCBL and the pace of the season?
This team has been really good. There are a lot of really cool guys on this team and it seems like we’re all getting along really well. What I try to tell people is it’s a very long season .. just pacing yourself and remembering that there’s always a game tomorrow, not getting too upset. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that.
5. There aren’t a lot of breaks in the schedule, so you don’t have a lot of time to get too up or too down. Talk about that a little bit.
When you’re hot, you’re hot and you get to go out the next day and play and ride that hot streak. But at the same time, when you’re cold you don’t really have a long time to think about it and get over it. So, it’s all about flushing what you did the day before and just refocusing yourself and just trying to find a routine that gets you ready to play.
6. You had an All-Star season in the WCBL last year. What do you need to do personally to build on that?
I think I just need to evaluate my game and see where I need to improve. There are a couple of things that I need to work on, for sure, and get in the cage and talk with the hitting coach. One of the biggest things is I need to put on a little bit of weight to hopefully add that power stroke that I had from college and hopefully apply it to this year with the wood bat … just trying to get some size on me and me and help the team win.
7. You had an excellent season with Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Through 43 games in 2023, you posted a .411 batting average, 14 long balls, 65 RBI and 48 runs. You were also named a First Team All-Region player. What did that mean to you?
It was an honour and a dream come true to put together a season like that and get such an award. I’m thankful for the teammates and coaches down in Oklahoma. It was honestly a special season for me and I’m very grateful for it. It was probably my favourite season of baseball ever.
8. What was the key to your success with the Norsemen?
It was a couple things, a slight change in my approach. It’s funny, I was on the phone with my dad and we were talking about what I needed to do to sort of get better. The change I made was looking for a different pitch, so trying to meet the ball out front more to try to lift the ball to right field and that’s sort of what unlocked the power for me was meeting the ball out front and trying to lift it to right, as opposed to trying to hit the ball to the opposite field.
9. You’ve got some other news, as well. You’re making the jump to Southern Illinois University. How did that NCAA Division 1 opportunity with the Salukis come about?
It’s actually a funny story. The old pitching coach at the old college I was at, he asked for some video so he could send it around to some guys and, sure enough, I got a call a couple days later from Southern Illinois and I was able to go up and see their campus and, man, I’m super excited to play for them. The coaches seem amazing and I can’t wait to get to work.
It was honestly not on my radar and the more I talked to them and got to see the school, it was like, this place could be home. I had that gut feeling the whole time.
(This story was originally published on the Alberta Dugout Stories website and has been reprinted here with permission).