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.