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March 22, 2009 at 10:03 AM

Smart move by Koskie

koskie.jpg
We don’t spend a whole lot of time talking about other team’s players in this space, but I have to say, I’m glad that one player I won’t be seeing today, when Erik Bedard and the soon-to-be-Venezuelan re-stocked Mariners (the Team Venezuela guys get here tomorrow) play the Chicago Cubs in Mesa, Ariz., is third baseman Corey Koskie. I got to cover him in Toronto during the 2005 season and the guy’s a class act all the way. Plays the game hard, too. Goes all out on every play.
If some current Mariners showed the same focus and drive he displayed on every pitch, sort of like Adrian Beltre, their results and reputations would be a whole lot better.
Maybe not their physical health, though. Sometimes, in baseball, that style of play is not condusive to a long career. It’s a fine line these guys walk. So, I’m not sure what the right answer is, here. There are times, I think, when Koskie would have been better off staying focused, letting an extra foul ball or two wind up in the stands. But that just wasn’t him. And now, he lives with the consequences.
Koskie, who broke into the majors when I began covering them in 1998, had his share of highlights for the Minnesota Twins and their stellar playoff teams earlier this decade.
Lately though, beginning about four years ago, Koskie has had trouble overcoming one injury after another. He tore a thumb ligament in Toronto and was never the same that one and only season he played in his native country. More seriously, though, while with the Brewers in 2006, he suffered a concussion while — what else? — chasing after a ball and has not been in the majors since. He had been attempting a comeback with the Brewers but began feeling ill after diving for a ball against the Mariners the other day.
So, he’s calling it a career.
That’s good. Koskie has the rest of his life to worry about. I cringe every time I see former Steelers running back Merrill Hodge on ESPN, knowing how his post-concussion syndrome (he had five concussions in one season in the mid-1990s) used to get so bad that he’d have to sit in a dark room after going on-air because the bright TV lights triggered too many headaches.
Many athletes pay a huge price for the millions they earn. Koskie doesn’t have to risk doing that any more than he already has. He’s got a family to worry about, if not himself, and has already had good years in the big leagues. Real life is a lot more important that professional sports, no matter how glamorous they may look on TV. As I said, Koskie is a class act, played this game the way it was meant to be played and should go on with the rest of his life knowing that.
The game will be worse off without guys like him. But he’ll be better off in the long run.
Photo Credit: Getty Images


Here are todayt’s lineups:
Chicago Cubs (13-12)
12 Alfonso Soriano LF
7 Aaron Miles 2B
25 Derrek Lee 1B
21 Milton Bradley RF
16 Aramis Ramirez 3B
18 Geovany Soto C
59 Andres Blanco SS
4 Joey Gathright CF
38 Carlos Zambrano P
—————————–
38 Carlos Zambrano RHP
Seattle Mariners (11-11-1)
3 Ronny Cedeno 2B
21 Franklyn Gutierrez CF
25 Wladimir Balentien LF
30 Russell Branyan 1B
12 Mike Morse 3B
61 Mike Wilson RF
15 Jamie Burke C
6 Chris Woodward SS
45 Erik Bedard P
—————————–
45 Erik Bedard LHP

Comments | Topics: Chris Woodward

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