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Out of My League Hardcover – February 28, 2012
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"With razor-sharp wit and keen observational powers, Dirk Hayhurst delivers a rare gem of a baseball book. Out of My League captures both the joy and the toll of becoming a big leaguer unlike anything else before it."--Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated
"This book shows why baseball is so often used as a metaphor for life."--Keith Olbermann
About the Author
Born in Canton, Ohio in 1981, Dirk grew up in the small town area of Canton South where he attended Canton South high school, home of the Wildcats. Though Dirk now makes his home in Hudson, Ohio with his wife, Bonnie, Dirk's family remains in Canton South. Dirk holds a degree in communication studies from Kent State University, where he is also a member of the athletic hall of fame.
Dirk was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 8th round of the 2003 amateur player draft. He signed as a senior in college at Kent State University, put his communication degree on hold, and set off to the fabled Northwest League to become a mighty Eugene Emerald.
After 6 years of toiling in the minors, playing for the Eugene Emeralds, Fort Wayne Wizards, Lake Elsinore Storm, Mobile BayBears, San Antonio Missions, and Portland Beavers, Dirk emerged in the big leagues with San Diego to start against the San Fransico Giants on August, 23, 2008. His performance in that start was unremarkable, but the story between the two aforementioned dates is not, and is detailed in his 2 books, The Bullpen Gospels, and Out Of My League.
Dirk's first book, The Bullpen Gospels, came out on March 30, 2010 and was met with a surge of acclaim from all manner of key figures, such as Keith Olbermann, Bob Costas, Jayson Stark, Tim McCarver, Tom Verducci, and several esteemed print sources like, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, The Boston Globe, and the list goes on. You can read more reviews about Dirk's book on the Book's page, or order it at all fine book sellers.
Dirk second book, OUT OF MY LEAGUE is slated to hit shelves in 2012, and it the story of how Dirk made it to the Big Leagues for the first time, and all the the trials and tribulations that came with it.
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The book is equally funny, honest and insightful. You will laugh out loud at some of the stories Hayhurst retells. Stories about his offseason relationship with his grandma, getting hit on by transvestites while on the road, and many of the rookie hazing moments he goes through when he finally reaches the big leagues.
Even with all the funny moments, and there are plenty of them, this book focuses on so much more. The reality and struggle of what a fringe prospect goes through.
Baseball is a sport that is marked by failure. Players will always fail more often than they succeed. These failures can weigh heavily on a players psyche and in turn make them even worse as a player. It is a struggle to overcome these overwhelming obstacles and find success in a sport where the odds are stacked against you.
Hayhurst takes us behind the curtain and sheds light what it is like to be an actual baseball player and what runs through their minds in many of these types of situations.
Baseball, even with all its benefits, can be a serious grind for its players forcing them to sometimes wonder if making it to the show is worth it or not. Hayhurst openly talks about many of these struggles that he faced throughout his 6 years in the minors en route to his first appearance in the majors.
What I love most about this book is the honest approach it takes to what life is like for a major league player. So often in movies and books that talk about this subject, we see the athletic side of life being glorified, but we fail to see a lot of the real struggles and doubts that are also a part of being a professional athlete. Living up to 6 or 7 figure contracts are not as easy as it would seem.
We want this dream of becoming a professional athlete to be glorified. We want to dream that if, by some miracle, we were to be in these players shoes, everything would work out for us in our own lives. The reality is that it isn't easy and if we were in their shoes, we might think differently about what it is we want to do with our lives.
Don't get me wrong; this book isn't about feeling sorry for a major leaguer who is having a tough time. What it does do however is paint a complete picture of what life at the major league level is really like. There is both good and bad that comes with being at that level and we, the reader are shown what it really is like.
The other thing that makes me appreciate the book is that it helped shed light on the human nature side of baseball. Ever since Moneyball came out, stat heads have had an increasingly bigger and bigger impact on the game trying to make the way we look at the game as precise and scientific as possible.
What has gotten lost in all of these stats is that what we are dealing with is human beings. Sure certain players and their stats have been incredibly predictable through the years but that doesn't mean they aren't robots. Hayhurst has helped shed light on what goes on behind all this and what can affect a player during his ups and downs throughout the season.
If you would like to get a picture of what being a professional baseball player is like I can't recommend this book enough. Between this book and his first, The Bullpen Gospels, an equally compelling and well written book that focuses more on what life is like in the minors, you won't get a better picture of what life in the world of professional baseball is really like.
(This is an excerpt from a review I wrote for my website)
Even if you're a casual fan of the game, I would recommend this book for it's look into the mundane, non-baseball factors that players have to deal with while trying daily to prove they belong and strive to move to the next level.
Poignant and vulnerable moments and interesting philosophical thoughts are scattered in between entertaining dialogue and game play descriptions.
Looking forward to reading other books by Hayhurst.
As a baseball fan, I'm left with the unfortunate feeling that some of my major league baseball "heroes" are probably not all saints, but that many are as flawed and selfish as the rest of any cross-section of society. Which shouldn't be surprising, but is a bit jarring when contrasted with the impression you've probably been sold by the MLB marketing machine your whole life. And the minor leaguers and fringe players are just pawns in the machine.
The strongest part of the book for me was the chapter when he broke down with his wife in his fancy hotel room after another poor outing - he does an effective job of painting the picture of his ever-growing anxiety and anger over his pitching struggles leading up to this point, and how it came close to changing what kind of person he is.
The only reason I give 4/5 instead of 5 was because the first half of the book was a little slow, and a bit too similar to his first book. I understand his intent to provide a chronology of his whole season, but the novelty of the day-to-day minor league activities to us outsiders was not as compelling the second time around.