HOUSTON -- What do you get the guy who has everything? Just ask Astros rookie pitcher Jarred Cosart, who made his Major League debut last season and gave his hometown team a dazzling 10 starts and reason to believe the future is bright.
Cosart grew up in the Houston suburb of League City, Texas, cheering for the Astros, so when he was traded to Houston from the Phillies as part of the Hunter Pence deal in 2011, it was nothing short of a dream come true. Making his Major League debut last July -- and flirting with a no-hitter against the Rays -- only added to the Cosart fairy tale.
So what is Cosart asking for this holiday season? Nothing more than spending time with his family, including his brothers and parents, at their League City home. There's no place like home for the holidays, and Cosart revels in the privilege of getting to stay home all year.
Cosart comes from a baseball family. His maternal grandfather, Ed Donnelly, appeared in nine games for the Cubs in 1959, and spent two seasons with the Cubs' Triple-A affiliate, the Houston Buffs, in 1960-61. Houston became a Major League town a year later. His younger brothers, Jake and Jansen both play at Seminole State.
Cosart went 1-1 with a 1.95 ERA in 10 starts for the Astros before they shut him down in September to limit his innings. He was named the Astros' Rookie of the Year by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, and his ERA through his first 10 starts was the lowest in history by an Astros pitcher.
Cosart took some time to answer from question from MLB.com about his holiday experiences:
MLB.com: What was Christmas like for you growing up in League City with your family?
Cosart: It's been the same routine every year. My mom is a big Christmas fanatic. Our lights go up in November, probably right at Thanksgiving or right around there. Everyone is always in a great mood, everyone is always happy during Christmastime, so that's always a positive.
Usually, Christmas Eve we open our gifts from the brothers -- I have two brothers -- and we get our gifts out of the way and have a lot of family time. We'll go to church service usually around 2 o'clock and cap it off with a dinner that night. On Christmas Day when we get up, we'll get up and open presents from Mom and Dad and the family, and later on in the afternoon, the whole family comes over -- my dad's brother and their family and my mom's sister and brother and my grandparents. It's basically whoever is in town in the immediate family, we have a get-together at our house, which is good. Nothing too crazy, but it's family, so you can't beat that.
MLB.com: Is there one gift growing up you received that stood out over anything else?
Cosart: The funny thing is, growing up, when I was younger, younger, it was always, "Are my brothers going to get something that I want?" I always seemed to want baseball stuff every year. Now it's a little different obviously, but it was pretty much baseball stuff growing up, and that's what I wanted and what made me happy. I pretty much got a new glove every Christmas, and when that happened, I was ecstatic.
MLB.com: What's on your "want" list this year?
Cosart: The sad thing is I don't even have a list right now. My parents and brothers have been asking me for a while, as I have with them, and I get nothing in reply. That's kind of how it's been since everyone's gotten older and now my brothers are in college. You don't really know what to get them and you don't really know what you want. It kind of makes you think more, which isn't a bad thing. I actually have to go get three real gifts, because my dad gets on us for getting gift cards, because he doesn't think it's thoughtful, even though that's the easiest thing to do. It's easy to get them a gift card and let them go and get whatever they want.
MLB.com: Hey, there's nothing wrong with a gift card.
Cosart: That's what I want, and that's what I tell my mom and everyone to get me, and they don't listen (laughs). It's fine, though. Christmas is definitely my favorite time of the year, too. I enjoy every time leading up to it.
MLB.com: When Christmas is over, do you get bit with baseball fever, considering Spring Training will be only a few weeks away?
Cosart: I usually get that itch whenever football season ends, more so. When Christmas is here, it's right around the corner. It's exciting. I know everyone up at the field is antsy to get going. I've been ready to go, because I got an extra three weeks off basically when they shut me down. I've been itching. Once I start throwing, that's when you know it's close and football season is winding down, so you know it's that time. I couldn't be more excited for it.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.