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While his professional baseball career lasted for just one summer, McCarthy still compiled enough incidents and anecdotes to make for an eye-opening read about the wildly unpredictable life of a minor-league ballplayer. Drafted in 2002 by the Anaheim Angels, the Yale-educated left-hander was eventually shipped off to the Angels rookie team in Provo, Utah, where he had to not only adjust to the grueling schedule of a professional athlete but also to the culture of a heavily Mormon town. McCarthy shatters the idea of a glamorous lifestyle in the minor leagues—from the agonizingly long bus rides to the never-ending meals in chain restaurants and minuscule paychecks. He also portrays the unflattering aspects of the game, be it the divide between the American and Hispanic players, or the constant inner struggle on whether to take performance-enhancing drugs. But there are plenty of humorous (and sometimes obscene) stories sprinkled in. All the while, McCarthy writes of his own personal struggles as a pitcher and the constant physical and mental strain he endured to keep alive the dream of one day making it to the major leagues. While the book sometimes reads like a journal (which he kept throughout the summer), McCarthy can be an effective storyteller. Its a pull-no-punches work that will give many baseball fans a glimpse into a part of baseball not seen on ESPNs SportsCenter. (Feb.)
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Much as Jim Bouton recorded life as a major leaguer with the 1969 Seattle Pilots in his classic Ball Four, so Matt McCarthy shares his life as a minor leaguer with the 2002 Los Angeles Angels’ Class A farm team in Provo, Utah. If McCarthy lacks Bouton’s immortal cast of characters, or his singular deadpan wit, he proves a sure-handed reporter in revealing the daily grind of a season, the unabashed racism among players (all Hispanics are simply called Dominicans by their white teammates), the lousy pay and living conditions, and the callous nature of this most zero-sum of professions. Baseball fans will likely recognize Joe Saunders, Bobby Jenks, and Prince Fielder—bona fide major-league stars who were teammates or competitors of the author. McCarthy’s professional baseball career might be forgettable but this account is not. --Alan MooresSee all Editorial Reviews
Best book I've read concerning the trials and tribulations in the minor leagues.Published 1 month ago by AeroKirby
quite a good story of playing in minor league baseball well written and amusing and from time to time quite touching.Published 5 months ago by Smith W., Roedel
McCarthy is a natural, at least as a writer. While his arm might not have taken him to the majors, the pen will take him into the literary elite. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ronnie Aigle
Kind of voyeuristic. I would feel better about reading the book if Matt had gotten the permission of everyone whose private conversations he recounts. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Steve Richter
Very well done. A lighthearted look. Sometimes thought provoking and very intimate at times look into the minor league baseball world.Published 7 months ago by mlcsjcj4
With 3 feet of snow piled up here in CT, I needed
a baseball book to get my mind off of winter and
on to spring training. This, sorta, did the job. Read more
Minor league baseball is an odd world, filled with young players who are hoping to move up the ladder from Class A to the majors, from small towns to the biggest cities. Read morePublished 9 months ago by WDX2BB
After reading this book, I find it amazing that anyone makes it to the major leagues. Life in the minors is definitely no picnic. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Eyleen Nadolny