Chris Coste's book sales may take another jump today after a 4-for-4 night on national television Wednesday which jumped his season average to .339.
The Philadelphia catcher and longtime Independent Baseball favorite (Fargo, ND, Northern League) would be well up the ladder among the National League's top ten hitters if he had enough plate appearances to qualify for that list we see every day in newspapers. The four consecutive singles weren't enough for the Phillies to keep pace with Atlanta, which prevailed 8-6, but Coste did his part by scoring two of the runs.
For those who have not caught up with the news, Coste's "The 33-Year-Old Rookie" was published by Random House during spring training. It is an enjoyable read as he describes his lengthy minor league meanderings, with a considerable amount of the book devoted to the North Dakotan's five Independent seasons.
DNPs ON THE RISE?--I don't have all the numbers immediately at hand to compare to other years, but as I track things for my weekly Independent Baseball Insider it sure seems more players are getting purchased off Indy rosters by the major leagues before they ever set foot on the diamond in one of the eight non-affiliated leagues.
What happens is an Independent team signs a player--usually from the tryout camp or on reputation--then a major league organization steps up and buys his contract before the Independent season starts. I can count 15 such cases among the approximately 175 players currently with one of the 30 major league organizations after being under contract to an Independent team. The Indy team gives up the player to help his career, and gets some compensation from the sale of the contract.
THINKING ABOUT THOSE INTER-LEAGUE EXHIBITIONS--It is nice to know the bad blood that spilled out when four teams broke off from the Northern League three years ago to help form the American Association has not kept teams from the two leagues apart during the preseason.
It seemed like old times, at least on the surface, to see matchups such as Sioux Falls, SD and Fargo, Lincoln, NE and the Kansas City (KS) T-Bones and Winnipeg and St. Paul, MN.
With the Northern League looking to add to its current six-team alignment, maybe some day there can be more than exhibition games involving some of these dynamic franchises.