The Idaho Falls Chukars, a minor league baseball affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, are the only professional sports team in eastern Idaho. Their average attendance this past season of 2,780 may not sound like a lot, but their stadium is tucked in a small town in a mainly rural region. There isn’t a ton to do. Thus, the Chukars are a main attraction – and pitcher Christian Cosby, who left Chapman in 2018, humbly basks in the recognition.
“People start to recognize and go, ‘Oh, these guys play for the Chukars,’ so you do start to feel like somewhat a celebrity,” Cosby said. “But especially at the rookie ball level, it doesn’t get to your head.”
For a professional baseball player drafted from a Division III university, Cosby is surprisingly level-headed. After his collegiate career at Chapman, Cosby’s been hurling fastballs in the Royals organization for two seasons. Cosby was just the 10th player in Chapman’s Division III history to be drafted by a Major League Baseball team. He was a standout during his college career, yet found himself floating in a sea of balanced talent when he unpacked his bags in Idaho.
“It’s eye-opening, because everyone that you start to play with at this level was like the big fish in their pond wherever they came from – whether it was high school, out of the Dominican Republic, out of college; they were ‘the dude’ on their respective teams,” Cosby said. “Realizing, ‘Hey, everyone at this level is here for a reason. They were good at the previous level, or else they wouldn’t be here,’ is a good thing to keep in perspective.”
Cosby acknowledged that he had to keep a sense of self-confidence when comparing himself to other players.
“Everyone at this level is pretty damn good, but at the same time, I was good enough and fortunate enough to get to this level myself,” Cosby said. “You’ve got to have that sense of, ‘I belong here.’”
Scott Laverty, Cosby’s former head coach at Chapman has proudly observed his one-time pitcher’s development in the minor leagues.
“We’re excited for him. It’s well deserved – he’s worked hard,” Laverty said. “We just hope that he continues to rise up the ranks.”
With Cosby’s drive, he has one simple goal for the future: to make the major leagues. However, Cosby isn’t pretending as if it will be one easy move.
“Obviously, the goal is to move up the system fast and make the big league club,” he said. “But that takes a lot of little steps.”
The next little step would be to move up a rung to the Royals’ Single-A team, the Lexington Legends of Lexington, Kentucky. Then, perhaps, eventually moving to their Double-A affiliate in Arkansas and Triple-A in Nebraska, travelling through a sea of small towns unlike what he experienced in Orange, California. For now though, Cosby is focused on getting ready for his team’s upcoming season in the spring.
“My goal is to come into spring training in shape, ready to go, and then from there – I mean, it really is out of your control,” Cosby said. “I’m confident that if I come in ready to go, and in shape, I have a decent shot at making one of those teams. That’s my goal right now.”