Tuesday, March 06, 2012

"The Bullpen Gospels" by Dirk Hayhurst

Recently finished reading The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst and found it to be an entertaining read from the former minor (and briefly major) league relief pitcher.

I heard about the book from a New York Times piece by Tyler Kepner titled "Far From a Storybook Ending, a So-So Pitcher Turns the Page" and felt that the book content could be divided into (A) that on the hijinks in and around a minor league clubhouse and (B) that on Hayhurst's life with both his family and around the experiences that mean something to him.

The stuff around baseball itself was somewhat interesting and entertaining to me, but really just solidified something I had already thought was the case... it's a hard road being a minor league athlete. Unless it came as a signing bonus, you're not making much money, but have tremendous pressure on you... both to succeed and advance to "become a real major league player" and to fulfill fan expectations of you (love how minor league players get in trouble for giving away baseballs).

The interesting part of the book to me came from the content about Hayhurst's family with the alcoholic brother, father who suffered a debilitating injury and mother who was just tired of iut all. This twisted background mixed into the story of Hayhurst's stories of extreme kindness with giving away his boots to a homeless guy and bringing the three year old cancer kid into the bullpen to demonstrate that the actual wins and losses in baseball just not that important.

To this point, the intro quote to the book (which was later echoed in a conversation with allstar Padres closer Trevor Hoffman) seemed to encapsulate his view with the quote "for all the great things baseball is, there are some things it is absolutely not. And that is what this story is about."

Overall, it was a nice read... and is followed up by the just recently released Out of My League from Hayhurst.