Tag Archive | "Minor Leauges"

Book Review: Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit


Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit, by Matt McCarthy, is a tale about a Yale graduate spending a year in the low minors.  It captures the essence of the game played out of the spotlight and headlines of the major leagues and gives an insight to the life of a minor leaguer.

McCarthy was a left-handed pitcher who played for some of the worst teams in Yale history. He starts briefly with his days in high school in Orlando. He talks about his days at Yale playing with his friend and future major leaguer Craig Breslow, and chronicles his year in rookie ball in Provo, Utah.

Playing in rookie ball is one thing.  Playing rookie ball in Provo, Utah is a whole other experience. With the strong Mormon presence, and the fact they play their home games at BYU, they are unable to do certain things like have home games on Sundays. It’s an interesting and entertaining look at the lives of minor league players.

From roommates to host families, Matt does a great job showing what the life of a struggling minor leaguer is like. The low pay, sometimes bad living conditions, trying to make it in a very competitive environment where your roommate might be fighting for the same job as you, to long bus rides to the middle of nowhere Canada, this book delivers. If you want an honest look at the life of a minor leaguer straight out of college learning the ropes of being a professional ball player, this is the book for you.

McCarthy does a great job throwing names you will recognize. He played with future major leaguers and even a future NFL wide receiver. The stories about the players and their sometimes crazy coach will keep you laughing. I couldn’t put the book down. Matt does a great job telling the story in an easy to read, understandable (after all he is now a Yale and Harvard Medical School graduate), and entertaining way. The stories and characters are memorable and likable at the same time.

The book was released several years after Matt’s year in the minors. There have been questions raised about the validity of some of the stories and/or quotes. I think when reading this type of book it is important to remember that some things might be embellished. Not everyone in the book is presented with a glowing seal of approval. There are talks of racist teammates, steroids, and a circus like atmosphere led by their coach. Do I believe everything in this book to be 100% true? No, but I don’t believe that in any book I read. Do I think everything I read could have happened? Yes, and I doubt that the stuff that was disputed might not have been far from the truth. Anytime someone is not painted in a pretty picture, they are going to fight it. All in all I think this book is a great read.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a baseball fan. The stories are enlightening and funny, and I loved the inside look of the low minors where you can be unemployed as quick as the wind changes direction. So do yourself a favor and pick this book up. It’s been around awhile so it is affordable and a great easy read. You can pick it up at Amazon – Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit or anywhere where good books are sold.

I give this book a rating of 5 gloves:

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Crazy Bat Tricks


Last year while playing for the Long Beach Armada (a now defunct team in the Golden Baseball League), Josh Womack became a YouTube phenomenon.  The former 2nd round pick of the Seattle Mariners showed off some serious bat tricks.  Womack never made it to the majors having a cup of coffee in AAA with Tacoma, but he is Jedi when it comes to handling the bat.   The original video of Josh doing his big trick has had nearly 4 million views already.  This video goes a little further with some additional tricks, and its quite amazing.  This may be old for some, but its always nice to see some great tricks.  Enjoy.

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Manic Monday – Walk Off Brawl?


I have seen walk off home runs, walk off walks, walk off passed balls, you name it and I have seen it, except this.  In a Memorial Day Single-A game between the Bakersfield Blaze and the Visalia Rawhide, the game erupted in a donnybrook.

With the game tied 1-1 in the 10th inning, Engel Beltre (a Texas Ranger prospect) hits a walk off home run to right field.  This marked the start of a one minute seven second trot around the bases.  As he nears 3rd base, he begins jawing with some of the unhappy Rawhide players.  A full on fight breaks out before he can touch home plate.  It didn’t seem as though Beltre was as interested in scoring as he was in participating in the fight.  The video is below.

Beltre finally finishes his romp around the bases with a one finger salute to the Rawhide team as he touches home.  Beltre was acquired in the Eric Gagne deal from Boston in 2007.  Seven players have been suspended for the altercation, including a 5 game stint for Beltre.

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Manic Monday – The Bullpen Gospels


Another one of my new segments is Manic Mondays.  I plan to bring you the crazier side of baseball.  Today I want to start with a book review.

I recently found a bookstore in Seoul who carries a large selection of English books and better yet, baseball books.  I was excited to find out they had the new release The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst.  I ordered it right away and it has not disappointed.  Hayhurst spent several seasons in the minors with the San Diego Padres and wrote about his time in the minors.

This book is a must read for any baseball fan.  The stories he tells are more than just about long road trips in the minor leagues.  Hayhurst also hits on the life of a minor leaguer and how its not always sunshine and roses.  But don’t get me wrong, there are some lough out loud stories as well.  I was reading the other day in my local coffee shop and getting all sorts of funny looks from the fact I could not stop laughing while reading this book.

Currently Dirk Hayhurst is with the Toronto Blue Jays but on the 60-day DL. Hopefully he will return to his 2009 form that made him a valuable reliever for the Jays.

So give it a chance and check it out.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.  It’s the funnies book on life as a professional ballplayer since the classic Ball Four.  It should be available at any local bookstore, or if you want to help me out click on the Amazon.com link below to order and have it shipped to your door.

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There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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