m2744 BC-BBO-CoreyKoskie 04-02 0525
Ex-Twin Koskie stops at Dome, still fighting concussion symptoms
MINNEAPOLIS — Corey Koskie came to the Metrodome on Wednesday, and he didn’t get sick.
That’s not a joke about the dingy stadium the Minnesota Twins are two years from leaving. That’s an accomplishment for the 34-year-old Canadian who wants to be a third baseman in the major leagues again despite persistent post-concussion symptoms that won’t let him.
The last time Koskie showed up at the Dome to see his old teammates, his daily nemeses — dizziness and nausea — told him it was time to go back home.
That was last summer, so he’s clearly making progress. He’s able to play catch and goof around with his three very active sons, ages 7, 5, and 3, and drive them to and from school in their suburban community in the Twin Cities area.
But visual stimuli still give him trouble. When he walks from a confined space to a large, open area, he often feels wobbly. Actual baseball activities are currently out of the question.
"I want to get to the point where I can go run and exercise and not think about it," said Koskie, who had lunch with former teammate Torii Hunter and brought the new Angels center fielder to the ballpark. Koskie was in a chatty mood, talking to a small group of reporters for more than 15 minutes after catching up with Twins players, coaches and employees.
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, who had Koskie as his regular third baseman from 1999 to 2004, called the situation "mind boggling."
"It’s always fun to see him. He’s a good friend, and boy you hate to see something like that," Gardenhire said. "You just don’t know where it’s at or where it’s going."
Koskie has learned to pull back on a particular activity — like watching hockey on TV — when the nausea and dizziness develop. He’s found that he recovers much faster than before; three months ago he said the symptoms would stay for two or three days, and a year ago they would linger for a month.
"It might be something I have to deal with the rest of my life," Koskie said. "I don’t know, but I want to get to the point where I’m symptom-free."
If he does, then he said he’ll try to play baseball again. At his age, there’s no guarantee any team will give him a chance again.
He had plenty of injury problems before July 5, 2006, when he chased a shallow popup for Milwaukee — and fell backward as he tried to make the catch. He didn’t hit his head very hard, but the impact was enough to cause this concussion he’s been fighting since.
The Brewers declined their option on Koskie’s contract for 2008 and paid him a $500,000 buyout, so he has been a free agent since last fall. He’ll soon pass the two-year mark since his last at-bat, but he’s not ready to give up yet.
"You look fine. You don’t have a cast. Everything seems normal," Koskie said. "Unless you’ve experienced a concussion or something like that, you just have no idea what somebody goes through."