Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The 33-Year-Old Rookie

The 33-Year-Old Rookie, by Chris Coste
$11.50 in the Hansisgreat Store
ISBN: 978-14000-66-865
With the beginning of baseball season less than a week away, it seemed appropriate to mention this terrific new autobiography. 
This year the Phillies have a new catcher, a man who's making his Major League debut at the unusual age of 33. The same as David Beckham. And Hans, coincidentally.
Chris Coste grew up in the somewhat remote town of Fargo, North Dakota. He was the son of a single mother who worked as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. From age seven he showed surprising talent for baseball.
We join him during his idyllic boyhood. Apparently Mr. Coste once had a fondness for rock fights, and on one occasion whacked a little girl in the face. Far from being a juvenile delinquent, however, had a pretty wholesome upbringing.
At eighteen he was given the chance to play baseball for a small junior college in Kishwaukee, Illinois. Here he had a coach who could be somewhat politely described as a sadistic monster. 
After finishing school at the more prestigious Concordia College, he was drafted into the Minor League where he remained for eleven years.
There are a lot of interesting experiences while he's in the Minors. 
His first position was on a small team in his native Fargo, where he was paid $250 every two weeks. There was a whole series of teams in Mexico, Venezuela, and Panama.
He sure does earn his money during these years. He plays with a giant, swollen lump jutting out of his elbow, and takes a 
fastball in the throat. 
There's a funny story (though I'm sure it wasn't very funny at the time) in which he gets whacked in the nuts by a pitch. In a moment of panic and agony, he sticks his hand down his pants to conduct a self-exam, in front of thousands of sympathetic, but very amused fans.
Finally playing in the Majors after so many years of setbacks have made him a crowd favorite this year. He's not only an amazing athlete, but also a handsome and likable guy, with a gift for writing as well.
Now, let's see him get some endorsement deals for Dolce & Gabanna underwear or Tag Heuer watches.

No comments: