The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran

  • 353 pages
  • English
  • Paperback
The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran

✊ search Paperback ₓ The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran ͮ Kindle Ebook Author Dirk Hayhurst ᾧ One of the best baseball books ever written Keith Olbermann Hilarious, Poignant, a really enjoyable read Bob Costas A true picture of baseball Tim McCarver Dirk Hayhurst has written a fascinating, funny and honest account on life in the minor leagues I loved it Tim Kurkjian, Senior Writer, analyst reporter ESPN television The Bullpen Gospels is a rollicking good bus ride of a book Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated Bull Durham meets Ball Four Ron Neyer, ESPN.com Fascinating a perspective that fans rarely see Trevor Hoffman, pitcher for the Milwaukee BrewersHe has a message to deliver about the things that matter in life and those that don t And he offers sage observations about the nature of celebrity and ambition, forgiveness and family Mr Hayhurst is already a writer, maybe even a major league prospect Wall Street Journal If Holden Caulfield could dial up his fastball to 90 mph, he might have written this funny, touching memoir about a ballplayer at a career and life crossroads He might have called it Pitcher in the Rye Instead, he left it to Dirk Hayhurst, the only writer in the business who can make you laugh, make you cry and strike out Ryan Howard King Kaufman, Salon The Bullpen Gospels is a funny bone tickling, tear duct stimulating, feel good story that will leave die hard baseball fans and die hard human beings, for that matter well, feeling good Bob Mitchell, author of Once Upon a Fastball Best Baseball Autobiography Since Bouton Dirk Hayhurst s description of himself for the author s ID in his upcoming book The Bullpen Gospelsreads in part, Dirk is a former member of the San Diego Padres, and after this book gets printed, a former member of the Toronto Blue Jays. I m not sure he s correct In fact, I m not sure that in these times when so many fans feel like they re constantly having the wool pulled over their eyes by athletes ill equipped for the attempt, if Hayhurst s constant honesty, his remarkable candor, his drumbeat of unadorned confessed self doubt, and his seamless writing, won t resonate through the sport like the first true wonderful day of spring when the game and the weather finally reassure you that winter has been beaten back, at least for a season. In fact, I m not sure that he hasn t written the best baseball autobiography since Jim Bouton s Ball Four.For Hayhurst, who bombed as a starter for the Padres in 2008 and then showed promise out of the Jays bullpen the season past, has written what Bouton wrote, and what a decade before Bouton, what Jim Brosnan wrote a book that is seemingly about baseball but which, as you read further and further into it, is obviously much bigger than that These are books about life struggle, confusion, purpose, purposelessness, and the startling realization that achievement and failure are nearly identical twins, one which gnaws and deadens, the other which just as often produces not elation but a tinny, empty sound. Brosnan s achievement, in The Long Seasonand Pennant Race, was to introduce to a world which previously had no information of any kind on the subject, the concept of athlete as human being What did he have to do when demoted, or traded What happened when management changed Was there a Mrs Athlete, and could they share a martini now and again answer You bet. Bouton s breakthrough was to show the concept of athlete as flawed human being Too many martinis, some of them shared with women other than Mrs Athlete Athletes who might not have been geniuses on the field or off, but who seemed invariably managed and coached by men even less intelligent The struggle to self start as one s team sank from optimism, to contention, to inconsistency, to irrelevance, to embarrassment And yet, were they enjoying themselves, did their lives change for the better, was being an athlete fun answer You bet. And now here is Hayhurst, who may single handedly steer baseball away from the two decades long vise grip of Sport As Skill Development Since my own childhood, we have ever increasingly devalued every major leaguer but the superstar Late in the last century we began to devalue every minor leaguer but the top draft choice If you don t make it into somebody s Top Prospects list, you might as well not exist.Dirk Hayhurst is writing of his days, his months, his years, as far away from the Top Prospects lists as imaginable He is, in The Bullpen Gospels, often the last man on an A ball pitching staff, and trying to answer a series of successively worsening questions cascading from the simplest of them Why This, of course, is why the book transcends the game It s not just Dirk Hayhurst s existential doubt about whether he ll reach the majors or why he s still trying or if he shouldn t be helping the homeless instead of worrying about getting the last out of a seven run inning He is experiencing the crisis of reality through which we all pass, often daily when our dreams about life crash head first into its realities, what the hell are we supposed to do then Thus The Bullpen Gospelsis a baseball book the way Is That All There Is is a Leiber Stoller pop song by Peggy Lee from 1969 It is the primordial battle of hope and faith and inspiration versus disillusionment and rust and inertia. Sounds pretty grim, doesn t it But of course therein lies the delightful twist like Brosnan and Bouton before him, Hayhurst repeatedly rediscovers the absurd hilarity of it all, and the book is consistently laugh out loud funny And like all great artists, he pulls back curtains we never thought to investigate from how assiduously minor leaguers debate which Come out songs they will choose or which numbers they will wear, to the pecking order of seat locations on the ever infamous bush league bus trip. My favorite is probably the mechanics of something the average reader will have never heard of before, let alone have contemplated It s the host family the living arrangements by which the non first rounders survive their seasons in the minors Hayhurst hilariously defines such temporary homes asranging from Wackford Squeers Dotheboys Hall, to the visitations from In Cold Blood. It doesn t hurt that Hayhurst is a fluid and gifted writer, whose prose can take off like a jet and compel you to read for half an hour than you have He populates the pages of The Bullpen Gospelswith teammates, some identified, some amalgamated, some under aliases and if the book takes off, ripping the Hayhurstian masks off the colorful ones may become a low key hobby after the book is published on March 30th. The reaction will be fascinating to see In 1970, my father endured my clamoring and bought Ball Fourand read it himself before handing it to me I know you know all these words Just don t use them around the house Read this carefully, there s a lot of truth in here.But ever since, we fans have been bombarded for decades by altered versions of truth, all of them writ large and desperately trying to impress us with their essential ness Baseball books have tended to focus only on the big, and to try to make it bigger still We ve gone from the unlikely accuracy of Jose Canseco s slimy indictment of the steroid era, through the analyze all the damn fun out of the game why don t you tone of Moneyballand its imitators, through what may in retrospect be seen as a Hayhurst precursor in Matt McCarthy s fraudulent Odd Man Out,through dozens of historical works insisting everything that has ever happened in baseball has re shaped the nation Jackie Robinson yes , the 1951 N.L pennant race very possibly , the 1912 World Series no way. Here, instead, will be a modest book by a modest relief pitcher who has appeared in the modest total of 25 major league gamespresenting what the modest author thinks incorrectly is only modest truth He has yet to get his own major league baseball card and as I write this there are exactly two of his souvenirs available on eBay and one of them is a photo for 6.99 Or Best Offer His preface warns you if you seek scandal or steroids, look elsewhere, and the only bold face name in the whole 340 pages, Trevor Hoffman, comes across as a low key gentleman. And yet there in the prologue Hayhurst offers a key to what he has written and why, self guidance to which he sticks pretty neatly I also believe there is to the game than just baseball For all the great things baseball is, there are some things it is absolutely not And that is what this story is all about. Of course, just as Bouton s exposure of the real flaws of the real men who played baseball in 1969 made them even appealing than the phony deities into which they d been transformed,the great things are made somehow greater by how well Hayhurst contextualizes them, how honestly he tells his story, and how vividly he takes us inside his world. 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