Posted on 20 April 2012.
Originally posted on BaseballdeWorld.com
Former MLB pitcher Dirk Hayhurst made a splash in the book industry with his first best seller The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran which talked about life in the minor leagues. Now he is back with his second best seller, Out of My League.
Out of My League is about Dirk’s ascension to the big leagues. The book takes you through the twists, turns, and turmoil of a minor league pitcher trying to make his way into Major League Baseball.
Hayhurst may not be a future hall of famer, but he definitely delivers with this book. Dirk’s humor shows through right away from the first few pages where he had me laughing right away. He takes you through an off-season of a low-paid minor league pitcher who not only has to work out and stay sharp but also has to find an off-season job to keep himself afloat.
From the hi-jinx dealing with his grandmother, to finding a car that he can afford that will run long enough to get him back to baseball, to some spring training humor this is a great book.
However, this book is about more than just baseball. It’s one man’s journey on and off the field in the pursuit of his lifelong dream of pitching in the major leagues. During the time before making it to the big leagues, Dirk meets his wife. He tells of this courtship which adds to story as he is trying to keep the chase alive but at the same time making someone apart of his life.
Through his new wife and the struggles he has with making her apart of his life, we see another side of the game that is overlooked all too often. Dirk struggles with planning a wedding and trying to make the jump from AAA to the big leagues. It’s an interesting and emotional ride.
Dirk shows us a different side of the Major Leagues. It’s not an inside look at the underbelly of the league or an expose on the things that go on into the clubhouse, but a look at rookie struggles. We forget sometimes that there is a pecking order that needs to be followed in the game, and Dirk does a good job of showing us just how difficult falling in line can be.
Most people see making the big leagues as the ultimate prize with nothing but gold paved streets. Sure there are five star hotels, and Dirk gives us a brief look at that, but his journey is more than that. It’s more on the mental side of things for a struggling rookie just trying to stay afloat. Making the big leagues is one thing, but staying there is a completely different deal and this is what Dirk shows us.
He gives us an inside look at rookie hazing, relationships with managers and players for a rookie, but he delves deep into the self-doubt and paranoia a rookie can experience while at the same time realizing his dream. It’s a mental struggle that many can’t handle, and Hayhurst shows us why. He shows us the cold side of baseball where if you don’t produce they don’t have sympathy for you. We are shown how a few words from the right person can tear you apart mentally and put enough doubt in you that can be hard to overcome.
But as quick as you are torn down, someone can see something in you that picks you right back up. It’s a rough business and the ups and downs can be brutal on a person’s pysche.
Through it all you find yourself rooting for Dirk to do well, even if you know how things turned out. The self-doubt and loathing that he goes through puts a new spin on life in baseball and makes for an interesting read.
If you read The Bullpen Gospels, you’ll definitely want to pick this one up. If you haven’t read The Bullpen Gospels, what are you waiting for. Go pick up both books. They are both great reads. Out of My League is a great insight to the struggles and mental side of the game that is rarely seen. Pick it up today.
Next I’ll be reviewing Deadball: A Metaphysical Baseball Novelby David B. Stinson, so stay tuned for that in the coming days.
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