His first objective was to not embarrass himself, and yet the strikeouts have piled up at times for Corey Koskie.
"I'm getting compared to what I was," Koskie said. "One college kid popped off and said, 'This guy used to play in the major leagues?'
"When you are comparing me to my 25-year-old self, yeah. Give me a little slack here."
The other objective was to not get hurt, but his body has revolted against him at times as it is revisiting baseball movements for the first time in 15 years.
"As soon as I try to do something a little too crazy, it tells me," Koskie said. "Two weeks ago, I tweaked one groin trying to sprint out of the box to beat out a base hit. That's not going to work. Last weekend I triedto tag up from second to get to third and about three-quarters of the way I tweaked the other groin.
"When you go from a sedentary lifestyle to, all of a sudden, running and swinging and trying to do something 100 percent ... not good."
No, you have not emerged from a time machine back in 2001, when Koskie was a productive third baseman for the Twins. This is happening now, for the Loretto Larks of the Minnesota Baseball Association. Koskie is their 48-year-old designated hitter.
He retired in 2006 as he dealt with the effects of a concussion he suffered while falling backward as he attempted to catch a pop-up while playing for the Brewers. There was a comeback attempt during spring training in 2009 that was aborted when he felt lightheaded after diving for a ball. In seven seasons with the Twins, the Canadian batted .280 with an .836 on-base-plus-slugging percentage while playing reliable defense.
Koskie has remained in the Twin Cities, where he has dabbled in various businesses. His current endeavor is selling health and life insurance to companies.
"If someone had told me I would have found my passion after baseball selling health insurance I would have told them they are nuts," he said, "but I absolutely love it because I'm just a disruptor and I'm going into this trying to save people a lot of money on health insurance. And we have."
Koskie and his wife, Shannon, have raised four sons, which is the reason for his return to the diamond.
His sons Bradley, 21, and Joshua, 18, play for the Larks and sold Pops on the opportunity to return to the game with one of Minnesota's well-known town ball teams.
Without a training camp or conditioning program, Koskie dug into the batter's box again.
"It's tough because you go from not picking up a bat for 12 years," Koskie said. "You still have the expectation that you don't want to get embarrassed. It's still a competition. It surprised me how competitive these guys are. They are intense. They want to win. This is not beer league baseball.
"So they will do whatever it takes to get you out. And so you're trying to compete at that level, especially when you start facing college guys who are throwing anywhere between 85 and 90. That's a lot."
Koskie, unfortunately, raised standards by hitting a homer in his first at-bat with the Larks. Apparently, the sweet spot never goes away. Koskie hit a second homer off a 90-mile-per-hour fastball, and was surprised he was able to get the batheadaround on it. Once the playoffs began, he admitted to pressing and the strikeouts accumulated. He will get more swings Friday when the Larks resume their playoff run.
The experience playing with his sons, he said, has been worth it. It's not a reboot. Koskie is just revisiting what he made a career of.
He has two other sons, Caleb, 16, and Samuel, 11. So Pops is going to be a Larks veteran before this next chapter is over.
"I'm glad I did this, and I'm looking forward to it again," Koskie said. "At some point, I want to play with all of them."
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