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4.4 out of 5 stars
Out of My League
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
While Dirk Hayhurst got it mostly right in the Bullpen Gospels, I don't think he does with Out of My League. I am an avid baseball book reader, having read a mountain of them; it is the perfect game to be dissected from 100 different angles, and the minors to majors route has been well covered - but this book just left me flat and somewhat disillusioned.

It charts Hayhurst's final burst in the minors at AAA before getting the call up to The Bigs with the Padres. The way he speaks about himself, his abilities, the people he deals with there and the whole experience in 'The Show' makes you wonder why or how he ever put on a basbeball uniform and how he got to that level.

He writes about himself in a real Jekyll and Hide way: on the one hand he maintains that he has the talent to be where he is and deserves his promotions, yet he constantly talks of himself in this laconic self-deprecating 'can't throw a strike to save myself' manner that just wears a bit thin here and doesn't really ring true. Obviously there's something to be said for talking yourself down and humility, but to hear Hayhurst describe his efforts you are left wondering how he emerged from Low A ball.

Then, inexplicably, he gets The Call Up. From here the book just seems to paint an extraordinarily dismal picture of what life in the majors is like, despite the outward trappings of excessive luxury. The way Hayhurst tells it, the Majors seems to be the Aladdin's Cave world of over-the-top luxury to the point of absurdity (the description of the Padres clubhouse makes you wonder how they ever get out of it to play, and how they don't put on 15kgs a week), a totally friendless environment devoid of any people with admirable traits or adult communication skills, with unwritten yet have-to-be-observed rules of behaviour that just make the pros to a man look like absolute juvenile man-children living in a bizarre anti-world in which Hayhurst is too scared to speak. What he writes is undoubtedly true for his experience, but the choice to focus excessively on what many of the banal and uglier parts of life in the Majors seems to not do any justice to the fact that most of these guys are very hard working athletes.

A bigger problem for me then, with this juxtaposing of styles, was that I simply don't know how much of the book to take as tongue in cheek and how much is accurate and 'real'. Like his relationship with his disfunctional family: it seems they are all nincompoops who hate each other, yet he writes about it with this slightly comic undertone as though it were some sort of sitcom. It's not balanced: he has his family saying funny bizarro things to each other, then a paragraph later tries to get us to be moved by his dad's efforts to throw a strike in their backyard.

I find this sort of applies to the rest of the book - it's good but I just don't know how 'on the level' he is with us. I think in his efforts to not drop anyone in the poop - which he refers to in the Note from the Author at the start of the book - he has produced a tone which is neither comic or totally 'straight'. It tries to be both and I'm not sure it totally works for me. Maybe I'm overanalysing it.

On a positive note: his command of English is certainly good, better than your average pro-athlete, I'd imagine.

If you want a great read on the minors-to-majors route read The 33-Year-Old Rookie: My 13-Year Journey from the Minor Leagues to the World Series. Or for one about the phenom who never makes it, A False Spring by Pat Jordan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In my humble opinion, Dirk Hayhurst may have written two of the greatest baseball books of all-time. His vantage point is so fresh, and his candor is so close to the heart, that one cannot help but root for Hayhurst to succeed.

This book picks up where his first one leaves off...almost. It goes slightly retrospective. He starts the season in Triple A, and has to contend with some of the monstrous egos and negative bench jockeying. But it is his lifestyle that he needs to defend the most. Hayhurst, at this point is a twenty-eight year old virgin. He has chosen, up to this point to abstain from alcohol because of his brothers alcoholism, and has a love-hate relationship with his immediate family.

His decency, however, shines through, as he has a clear picture of who he is and what his goals are. He balances his career and his love for his fiancee, and always keeps his sense of humor. Stressing him further is the fact that people on the team know he is writing a book. In the preface, he states that he has not written this book to hurt anybody, and he has changed the names of many of the people he writes about to protect those who want their anonymity. It is clear that the Gods of baseball do not approve of any type of tell-all.

After reading Peter Gent's NORTH DALLAS FORTY, I quickly went to the Football Digest roster to figure who was who in the book. After reading Hayhurst's travails, I felt no urge to the same.

Much of this book is hilarious. There are some stories that are laugh out loud funny. Many of his observations are poignant. And many of the things he writes about are so painful on a core level that I had the urge to reach through the pages and tell him all would work out OK.

Hayhurst has since retired from baseball, and is now a commentator. I hope this does not spell the end of his authoring. He has plenty left to say.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
What else is there to say? He tells you everything about what it's like to be a minor league baseball player, to work hard for your dream only to screw it up once you get it, and what it's like when it hits you you are getting married. This is not just a book on baseball. It's a book about life and never giving up. The only negative in this book is that there was no picture of Garfoose. What? Did he ask for to much money?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I recently finished Dirk Hayhurst's newest book, Out of My League: A Rookie's Survival in the Bigs. Like he did well in his first book, Hayhurst writes an imminently readable story, writing chapters of just three to four pages to make it extra easy on the reader, but not in a condescending way. It's easy to digest the story in manageable chunks, but it flows smoothly even through the frequent breaks.

As a person rather obsessive about both baseball and grammar/spelling, I have to say I was disappointed in the editing of the book. Hayhurst's editor could have done him a lot of favors, not the least of which would have been ensuring the names of Dirk's teammates and opponents were spelled correctly. Hopefully Citadel Press will clean up the editing process in any further books by Hayhurst.

The story itself is engrossing. Any fan of baseball will enjoy the peek inside the game. The book hearkens back to Jim Bouton's Ball Four, but without the controversy and done with much more tact, protecting the more unsavory characters from being identified. I was easily drawn into the two major plotlines which were woven together, the stories of Dirk's baseball career and his upcoming marriage. My emotions rode right along with his because he very descriptively allowed me a window in.

I gave the book four out of five stars over on GoodReads, and I would definitely recommend it, especially to baseball fans and/or folks who enjoyed The Bullpen Gospels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2015
Format: Paperback
Dirk's tales of a life in baseball, and how the real world intertwines, based on his own experiences are 1) hilarious 2) heart warming 3) heart wrenching 4) celebratory 5) an invaluable guide for any young man with a dream of making his living in America's great game! You don't have to be a seamhead to enjoy this, but I would recommend it be read AFTER reading his prior work, 'The Bullpen Gospels'. Look for this guy to become a HUGE sports literature presence!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
very personal, and if you are interested in that, it will be fine.
I was not and hence unsatisfied.
I would have wanted to know more about the mechanics of pitching and the difference in pitching between the major league and AAA or AA.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The Bullpen Gospels was a wonderful book in which Dirk Hayhurst told us a lot of great stories about what it was like to be a middling prospect in the A and AA levels of baseball. Out Of My League is superior. Again, Hayhurst tells us a lot of great stories, this time about being a middling prospect in AAA and of finally reaching "The Bigs." But here, the stories have so much heart, so much soul, that it is often tough to read. I had to put the book down on several occasions to absorb all the emotion that came through the pages.

Life in the major leagues wasn't perfect for Hayhurst, at least not yet, but he found perfection in Bonnie and that, too added a layer to this book that wasn't present in the predecessor.

I loved this book and think that you will too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I loved the Bullpen Gospels and couldn't wait to get my hands on Out of My League. I didn't think it was possible, but this book is even better! Dirk is an excellent writer who writes from the heart about his ups and downs throughout his career and his life. He doesn't shy away from talking about his personal family problems, or what he goes through on the mound and in the locker room. It's really a tale about growing up with baseball and finding out that there's more important things in life than what you thought back in high school. I laughed, cried, and cheered throughout the book. If there's one guy in baseball that I want to succeed in life, it's Dirk. The book is great for any baseball fan who would love to get an inside look at the game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I happened to pick up "The Bullpen Gospels" while browsing through a bookstore a few years ago. I've been a Dirk Hayhurst fan ever since. This followup does nothing but make me upset that the third book isn't coming out tomorrow. "Out of My League" is not your run-of-the-mill baseball book - it's about a guy named Dirk who happens to play baseball, happens to be getting married and happens to be unsure if his dream is really worth all the sacrifice. Turns out that maybe his dream was just prelude to a very different dream and profession. Good luck in Italy, Dirk - I can't wait for that experience to be detailed in the 4th!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Dirk's ability to paint the picture of what goes on in the world of baseball while giving you a view of what's going on in his heart is masterful. There's no doubt that the experience is genuine, at times maybe a little too much. As in his first book I wasn't a fan of some of the language used, but as I said... very genuine.

I don't know if I'd categorize this as a great baseball story but a tremendous story of life, failure and realizing what is truly important. It isn't the Cinderella story of making the show and being a Rookie phenom; not to discredit anything Dirk accomplished in his entire baseball career... still so much better than the great majority of ball players. Still so many elements of Dirk's story telling ability that had me laughing out loud (unwrapping Hoff's gum, etc). I also found myself emotionally overwhelmed reading about getting called up and subsequently telling his fiance and family.

There were some also very hard things to read. You come to sympathize with this pitcher and all of a sudden you see him transform into the very character he hates the most, all the while not realizing it until Bonnie calls him on it... this is real.
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