Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Cup of Coffee with Chris

By Jared Trexler

Sitting in a Northeast Philadelphia diner -- which isn't always the smartest idea to start with -- one's mind wanders.

"I just want a few cups of Joe, an order of pancakes to soak up the late night drinks, and some peace and quiet."

In solitude, the mind wanders. It thinks things it doesn't feel. It makes you uncomfortable, apprehensive, self-doubting.

"What am I still doing this for? I'm not a kid anymore. I have a dog. Shit, I have a wife and kid to provide for. My love is understanding, but that doesn't pay bills."

The order, shipped in as quickly as it was shipped out, is tossed in front of appetizing eyes.

"Can I even afford this? Maybe I should have ordered the small stack. Hell, can I afford the coffee? STOP IT. It's only $.69. If you can't afford that, you can't afford these stupid dreams. Stupid dreams. Stupid dreams..."

Each bite is a further reflection into one's soul. Flapjacks are failure's best medicine.

"Best medicine?!? Succeeding would be failure's best medicine. 12 years. I must be crazy. Only Bob Dole chases dreams for 12 years. Hell, he never became President."

The plate is soon empty.

"Figures. I should probably take this empty plate home. Hang it on my wall. Symbol of my career. I played in a Division III Conference that hasn't produced a major-league baseball player in 40 years. At my first professional job, the team went bankrupt after 30 days.

12 years.....Hit .463 in Spring Training. I thought I made that team. I deserved to make that team. I tucked my kid in thinking I made that TEam! I kissed my wife at night thinking I made that TEAm!! Then ESPN wakes me up to the name David Dellucci. I didn't make that TEAM!!!

Calm down. People are staring. I should be over that by now. This isn't Rudy. The Rookie. Invincible. Spielberg isn't sitting to my right. Life isn't a movie."

The check is put on the table. $8.50.

"Think Carlos Ruiz or Rod Barajas pays a diner bill? Hell, they don't come to a diner. Room service at The Sheraton. That's fine, because those two guys will help us win. I'M going to help us win.

I thought I was finally done proving myself. What was I thinking? Life constantly forces your hand."

The waitress looks up as Chris Coste exits. "Goodnight Chris, good luck this season."

Coste just smiles and waves, but he's thinking.

"Thanks Pat. Thanks for staying quiet while I rambled. Another year, another story. Elbow in, head still, and let's roll in 2007."

Who says a diner isn't the pathway to one's soul.

**The following was an interpretation of Coste's career. Jared didn't see Coste at a NE diner. Jared doesn't travel to NE Philly, for good reason. NE Philadelphians can reach him at 610-4...or at***

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