Fan-favorite Coste returning to Philly as TV analyst

Coste
Coste
Posted: March 21, 2011

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Just call him the 38-year-old television rookie.

Popular former Phillies backup catcher Chris Coste has been hired by Comcast SportsNet to provide pregame and postgame analysis for nine or 10 games a month this season.

He will fill in for No. 1 analyst Ricky Bottalico as needed, although they will work together for coverage of Opening Day. Former big-league catcher Ben Davis, from Malvern Prep, also will handle pregame and postgame analysis for some games on CSN this season.

"I really don't have the desire to take it to the next level, to work for ESPN or whatever," Coste said yesterday from his home in Fargo, N.D. "If it leads to that, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I'm just excited to be part of Phillies baseball again."

Coste became a fan favorite in Philadelphia as a symbolic underdog who finally made it to the majors after years of struggling through the low minors. He turned those experiences into a best-selling book, "The 33-Year-Old Rookie."

While rehabbing his elbow following the Tommy John surgery, he began to consider his options. He still hopes to resurrect his playing career, but he also is realistic about his situation. The story was first reported by North Dakota's Dickinson Press.

Coste said he was watching former Phillies closer Mitch Williams on the MLB Network, remembered that Williams had gotten his start on Comcast and called Phillies public affairs director Scott Palmer.

Within days, he was flying back to Philadelphia for an audition. "It went pretty well," he said. "But I was much more nervous doing that in front of three people than batting in front of thousands of people. I was a little out of my element."

A member of the 2008 world championship team, he played with the Phillies until being claimed off waivers by the Astros in July 2009 and played in 43 games for Houston the remainder of the season. He hasn't appeared in a major league game since.

That winter, he signed with the Mets. At the end of spring training, he was claimed off waivers by the Nationals and then was released in June 2010 with the elbow injury. He is currently rehabbing after having the surgery 10 months ago, but he hasn't given up on his dream of playing baseball again.

He said he hopes to be fully recovered by June and then hook on with a team in the independent Atlantic League and see how that goes. It could lead him back to an affiliated team looking for an experienced backup catcher. He also could get hurt again or find that his skills have eroded to the point that he needs to get on with his life.

"One way or the other, it's an opportunity for closure," Coste said. "I know it's a longshot to make it back to the big leagues. Then again, my whole career has been a longshot."

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