Review: “Out Of My League” by Dirk Hayhurst

It has taken far too long for me to eke out the post that follows. Perhaps this is attributable to a bit of sloth on my part, but I think it also has something to do with the fact that reading superb literature makes me lose confidence in my own writing abilities. I wanted to do this book justice and didn’t feel up to the task. It might be a sorry excuse, but it’s all I’ve got. But on to the subject at hand…

I am not going to make you wait to the end of this review to tell you in plain language what I thought of Dirk Hayhurst’s latest work, “Out Of My League: A Rookie’s Survival In The Bigs”. It was good. Really good. This is one of those books that you can knock out in a day or less, if you are so inclined. Although, if you’re like me you will want to take several, making it last and savoring it.

I thought a lot of Dirk’s first venture, “The Bullpen Gospels” (interested parties may see my review of it here.) Select portions may have caused the lady in me to recoil, but the overall themes and message were excellent. It was a great book about baseball and life, and, in my opinion, “Out Of My League” is even better. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl and I found myself thinking “Awww” more often than “Ewww“. At any rate, “Out Of My League” is a thoroughly absorbing read that baseball enthusiasts everywhere ought to embrace.

Now, if you are wondering what it is that makes this book so readable, I will tell you.
Dirk Hayhurst is an absolute top-notch writer. His pen flows with honesty, depth, and humor. He has the uncanny ability to draw you into his world. In this case, it is the world of a minor league “non-prospect” turned San Diego Padres rookie pitcher. This transition would at first seem a life-long dream come true, but quickly becomes something more like a nightmare. If you are looking for a collection of cliches about how life as a major league baseball player is magical and full of rainbows and sunshine, this is not the book for you. This is real and this is raw.

“Out Of My League” shows us a side of the baseball life that we don’t usually get to see; it offers us a glimpse at the nitty-gritty. Dirk takes us on a ride that includes surly veterans, savage Dodger fans, unwritten rules and a myriad of struggles, failures, doubts, and difficulties both on the field and off.

From what I’ve said thus far, you might be receiving the impression that this book is all doom and gloom. If I have led you to draw this conclusion, please erase it because this is not at all the case. If it were, “Out Of My League” wouldn’t be getting my endorsement. I hate books/film/etc., that just make me feel depressed. “Out Of My League” confronts the hard stuff head on, but it’s also infused with a tremendous amount of heart and wit. I laughed AND cried.

I know what you’re probably thinking by this point… Lizzy, your thesaurus called. It wants all it’s adjectives back. So I’m going to wrap it up.

When it really comes down to it, I think what I love about both “The Bullpen Gospels” and “Out Of My League” is that they’re just so gosh darn human. Baseball can so often seem like this fantasy world, but these books are about real life.

“Out Of My League” ends with the perfect lead-in for book #3 and I, for one, can’t wait to see what Dirk Hayhurst has in store for us next.

***

It would be remiss of me not to leave you all with a quick excerpt from the book. This is a pretty random one, but it literally made me guffaw. The scene takes place in a minor league club house, early on in the story…

Presently, one television was showing a Cubs’ game featuring Joe Morgan as the color man. The other showcased the latest VH1 reality show, The Flavor of Love, starring Flava Flav and his flock of debutantes.
“Where’s the remote?” bellowed Myrow. “I can’t take him anymore. We have to mute this idiot or change the channel.”
“I hate it when people try to hold on to their fame in desperate ways. They should know their time has passed and move on. It’s disgraceful to fight it,” said Bentley.
“Never happen. This clown has too many fans,” said Myrow.
“Only because they don’t know any better,” sighed Bentley. “They’re disadvantaged, really. Your average viewer will believe whatever a celebrity figure tells them to believe. That’s why they have so many guys like him doing this kind of thing nowadays.”
“What are y’all talking about?” asked Dallas, forcing his way into a seat between the pair.
“Joe Morgan,” said Myrow.

It’s FUNNY because it’s TRUE.

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