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A couple of Santa Rosa natives have played integral roles in building a contending baseball team. No huge surprise there. But when that team is a Major League Baseball club based 2,000 miles away — well, now we’ve got a story.

This is an amazing time for the Chicago Cubs. They have a loyal, championship-starved fan base, a dynamic and respected manager, and, most of all, a roster deep in young talent. That roster has been substantially influenced by Brandon Hyde (Montgomery High, Class of ’92) and Tim Cossins (Santa Rosa High, Class of ’88).

“It’s fun doing stuff with your buddies,” Hyde said by phone. “It’s fun figuring stuff out to this magnitude, especially where we’re going. And then (in 2014) we’re rated the top farm system in baseball. I’d like to think we had something to do with that.”

It would be hard to argue against it. Hyde spent a year as the Cubs’ minor league field coordinator, and another as the team’s farm director. He is now the first-base coach under manager Joe Maddon. Cossins (pronounced “Cousins”) has succeeded Hyde as Chicago’s minor league field coordinator.

Their ability to develop young talent was on display for the past several weeks in Mesa, Ariz., as the Cubs staged their spring training.

The Cossins-Hyde partnership is improbable, in that they didn’t really know one another growing up. Not that they were total strangers.

“I remember going to watch him play at Doyle Park, actually, when I was in junior high and he was in high school,” Hyde said. “I used to live kind of close to Doyle Park and I’d go to watch the high school games there.”

Each of them played baseball at SRJC after high school and Cossins, who remained close to the program, remembers hearing of Hyde when he was with the Bear Cubs. But they didn’t really get to know one another until several years later, after their minor-league careers had petered out and both were hired by the then-Florida Marlins.

The common connection was Marc DelPiano. Now the Miami Marlins’ vice president of player development, DelPiano had coached Cossins in the minor leagues and knew Hyde from Long Beach State. He brought in Hyde as a Single-A hitting coach and hired Cossins in a player development role, jump-starting two successful MLB careers.

Hyde’s path has been particularly varied, and his rise rapid. After two years as the Marlins’ hitting coach, he spent five years managing in the minors. The organization brought him up to the bigs in 2010 to be manager Fredi Gonzalez’s bench coach. Hyde left when Ozzie Guillen was hired to manage in 2012, but Cubs president Theo Epstein quickly snapped him up as minor league field coordinator.

Epstein later made Hyde his farm director, a front-office job that necessitated a move to Chicago. Hyde switched gears again in 2014 when he took over as Rick Renteria’s bench coach. And when the Cubs hired Maddon last year, Hyde survived the regime change and became Maddon’s first-base coach.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve done,” Hyde said.

And clearly, he’s done it all pretty well.

“I watched him manage and win a championship in Double A,” Cossins said. “The guy should be managing in the big leagues at some point, in my opinion. He’s that kind of baseball mind. And the piece that’s important, he’s not an ego guy. He wants to get it right.”

And in fact Hyde did manage an MLB team — for one game. He was Marlins bench coach in 2011 when manager Edwin Rodriguez unexpectedly resigned on Father’s Day, the morning after his team had suffered its 18th loss in 19 games. Rodriguez informed Hyde shortly before the game that he was done.

The Marlins lost 2-1 to Tampa Bay. The next day, 80-year-old Jack McKeon (who would become an important mentor to Hyde) came out of semi-retirement to manage the team on an interim basis. Hyde’s official managerial record stands at 0-1.

When Hyde became Chicago’s farm director in 2013, the team gave him a lot of freedom in his hires. One of his first targets was Cossins, whom he calls “one of the best in the business.”

“Tim’s unbelievably loyal,” Hyde said. “He’s a huge-impact person. He’s got big-time energy, loves to teach, players love to learn around him, he understands the game and all facets of the game. And I thought he was just the perfect fit to run our minor league players on the field.”

As field coordinator, Cossins was responsible this spring for laying out what the Cubs’ minor league affiliates would do on a daily basis, and how they would do it.

Every major league club has certain expectations for how a player conducts himself on and off the diamond. It’s the field coordinator’s job to make the transition as seamless as possible when a player gets an MLB call-up.

But that is only part of Cossins’ role. The son of a minor-league catcher, he played behind the plate starting in tee-ball. Now Cossins is the Cubs’ catching coordinator, responsible for developing as many as 24 catchers at Des Moines, Iowa; Knoxville, Tenn.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; South Bend, Ind.; and Eugene, Ore., not to mention the team’s prospects in rookie and international leagues.

How’s he doing? Catcher Kyle Schwarber hit 16 home runs in just 232 at-bats for the Cubs as a rookie last year; Cossins insists he is an underrated catcher, too. And Willson Contreras, who led the Double-A Southern League in batting (.330) in 2015, is considered the top catching prospect in baseball.

Along the way, as Cossins and Hyde climbed the baseball ladder, they also became close friends. They even roomed together for a while, on a hill over Chanate Road, when both were plying the minor leagues. Cossins worked in a wine shop in the offseason, Hyde delivered wine and lumber and put up as best he could with his friend’s drumming, a passion that has never gone away.

“He used to travel with a drum kit, back when we first started,” Hyde said. “Spring training with the Marlins, back when we were minor-league coaches, staying at a hotel in Jupiter, Fla., he’d have his drum kit. He’d be playing all the time in the hotel. Yeah. I’d be trying to get ahold of him and he couldn’t hear me.”

They’ve only gotten closer over the years. Cossins is godfather to Hyde’s son.

Cossins’ job takes him on the road a lot. He says he’s out 25 or 26 days a month during the season. During the offseason, though, he can stay wherever he wants. So he lives in Windsor with his wife, Lori, and 18-year-old stepson.

Hyde doesn’t have that luxury. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Lisa, and three children, one from a previous marriage. Hyde makes it back to Sonoma County all too infrequently but hasn’t lost a connection to the place.

“I’m still really, really close with a lot of guys I grew up with there,” he said. “They all still live in Bennett Valley. I still feel like that’s home for me.”

At spring training, Hyde and Cossins were in a maelstrom of baseball. Hyde was highly involved in the Cubs’ major league spring-training operation. Cossins ran the team’s minor league spring training, breaking down a detailed daily schedule of workouts, meetings and games. He was the complex in Mesa from 4 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. daily for 44 consecutive days.

It suited Cossins, a self-described “weird freak” with a heavy dose of OCD.

“Right after Christmas, and it varies from year to year, I wake up at 4 one morning,” he said. “My wife knows it. Every time it happens, she’s like, ‘Well, you’re on.’ And from that point on, I’m hopping up early. That happened to me a couple (months) ago. From that point on, I started building the framework of our work.”

No team has more reason to be excited for the start of a new season. The Cubs won 97 games last year with a lineup peppered with guys 25 years old or younger, including Schwarber, 2015 National League Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo (31 home runs), shortstop Starlin Castro and 21-year-old phenom Addison Russell, the second baseman.

Even after a massive shift of talent to the major-league team last year, a recent Bleacher Report guide ranked the Cubs’ farm system No. 7 in baseball.

With outfielder Jason Heyward, pitcher John Lackey and infielder Ben Zobrist joining the Cubs this year, it’s easy to see this team as the favorite to win the NL.

In fact, the Chicago fans are entertaining the unthinkable. Might this be the year their star-crossed team breaks free and wins its first championship since 1908? Imagine the scene.

“I want to be here when we win this World Series, when it happens. It’s gonna be something spectacular,” Cossins said. “We use that as a jump-off point with our development. It would be the biggest story in all of sports.”

It would even be pretty big back here in California wine country, thanks to a couple twists of fate.