Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dirk Hayhurst's "Out of My League"

To get to what's likely to interest the readers of this blog first, nothing of Hayhurst's time with the Durham Bulls is in this book. Not that it was very likely. In the very first public meeting last year he reported that he'd finished a second book (following "Bullpen Gospels") and it was  due to be published "soon". I guess "soon" meant trying to take advantage of the interest in baseball at the beginning of a season, any season.

The baseball side of this book is essentially Hayhurst's 2008 season with the Portland Beavers (AAA), his first experiences that year in the big leagues with the San Diego Padres, and his being claimed by the Blue Jays when the Padres tried to pass him through waivers at the end of the season.

But the real thrust of the book is something of a coming of age story — family strife, falling in love, planning a wedding, etc. That it takes place when the main character is 27 years old just gives the reader the insight that these guys really are in a very delayed adolescence. That's OK, but every now and then you wish that Hayhurst and his buddies would be just a little more grown up.

For Bulls fans there's a treat, though. This is the first close look at AAA ball that I've encountered. I think we've all guessed that it's different from the lower levels, but Hayhurst fills in a lot of details. He also does a terrific job of telling us what it's like to be called up.

Love story, insightful and funny baseball book, disturbing family conflict, the anguish and glory of making it to the Show — fun read.

If I were a betting man, I'd guess that we can look forward to an agonizing tale of shoulder surgery, publishing success, and a visit to Durham. Then maybe a fourth book about baseball in Italy (possibly a baseball equivalent to Grisham's "Playing for Pizza"). I look forward to it/them.

Update: If you'd like to see a real book review (and it's a good one) then check out this from the New York Times. [Thanks, DRR]
Update: Hayhurst is back from Italy. See comments for quotes from his twitter feed and from Italy.


  1. I haven't read this yet, but it is definitely on my short list.

    For what it is worth, I have seen it reported a couple of times that when Hayhurst signed with the Rays they required that he would not write about his experiences within the organization. Don't know if it is true, though.

  2. I can see how they could extract a pledge not to do any blogging or other social media that mention the Rays, but it would have to be a pretty tightly-written contract to prevent chatter a couple of years down the line. I'm afraid there's a bit too much "wailing and gnashing of teeth" for this book to really catch on ... which doesn't bode well for future chapters out of his life. I liked it, but I'm not always a good judge of what makes for a successful book.

  3. I think this is one place I saw mention of the Rays not wanting him to write about the team, but it seems to have been more of a request than a part of anything official.

  4. When I was at the library with the kids yesterday I typed the new book in on the computer search. They have 6 copies, all out, with a waiting list of 9 when those come back in. Pretty impressive for a baseball book. But he is from a few miles south of here, so it might be home town interest.

  5. Hayhurst has said on Twitter that his third book will be about his MLB stint with the Jays.

    He left for Italy today.

  6. From Hayhurst on Twitter today:

    "I'm back in the states. I regret I had to leave Italy for personal & professional reasons that I cannot fully disclose at this time."

  7. Sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to reading his commentary about life in Italy. I did note, though, that a comment I made on his blog hadn't been passed through. Guess we'll find out eventually...

  8. I bit of looking around online yielded this:

    Seems to be the most detailed note, even with its few details.

    On the sadder side of this, Hayhurst also posted this shortly after the one I quoted above:
    "There's been some very negative & insulting conjecture about my departure. I wont speak to the negativity, I'll just say there are 2 sides."

    "I'd also like to say that while I understand why Nettuno fans are upset with me, there is absolutely no reason for you to attack my wife."

  9. And this from the nettuno website (Google Translate):
    The company Danesi Nettuno Baseball Club announced officially that Dirk Hayhurst will not be a player of the season Danesi Nettuno in 2012. "We were informed that he has received a proposal to work as a commentator in the United States - says Alberto De Carolis Dg ones - but behind this decision was dictated by some of his physical problems and we will do everything to find out. For us there are no problems, no stranger to the pitcher and we are departing from Santo Hernandez will play, a role that has always played in his career. We have a deep bullpen and height, but will check if there is a chance to take a pitcher community, perhaps with dual passports, but if it does not arrive there allarmeremmo: we have a big pitchers park and remain a competitive team without Hayhurst ".

  10. Canadian Broadcaster says Hayhurst got a "media job".