Review: Dirk Hayhurst's "Out of My League"

Out of My League was the first book I've bought for the Kindle app. I'm slow on the pick up of new technology. I bought it Saturday night during the first televised Padres game when I attempted to buy the movie novelization of She's Out of My League but ended up with Dirk Hayhurst's book instead. I got hooked quickly and turned off the low definition Padres game and read for a few hours instead. I couldn't put the book down and ended up finishing it last night.

Here's how I interpreted his story.

Dirk Hayhurst is a goody two-shoes minor league pitcher with loads of self doubt. He's been struggling in the Padres system for years with little hope of ever being promoted. As tough as his season was, his life at home with his family is worse. Constant fighting, a crazy grandmother and a lack of money have him in a bad spot.

Then he meets his future wife Bonnie on eHarmony. Family problems and the ugliness of baseball draw Hayhurst into the abyss while Bonnie tries desperately to rescue him. It's a like good and evil are battling over his soul. After an unofficial proposal and return to baseball, Dirk's fortunes start to change with Bonnie's support. He's promoted to the AAA Portland Beavers and playing well but at the same time he's pressured from Bonnie to get a ring to make their engagement official. Nothing is ever easy.

Finally Hayhurst is rewarded for his performance in AAA and becomes a San Diego Padre. He is introduced to the glitz and glamor of the Major Leagues as well as Brian Giles' genitalia and is awed by it all. But with fortune and glory comes veteran hazing, crippling pressure and non-stop failure.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB Awards
2008 27 SDP NL 0 2 .000 9.72 10 3 3 0 0 0 16.2 27 18 18 2 10 1 14 0 0 4 84 40 2.220 14.6 1.1 5.4 7.6 1.40
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/21/2012.

Everyone on the outside expects Dirk to be on top of the world but that's far from the case. He hits rock bottom when Padres pitching Coach Darren Balsley (who is shown in a really bad light) crushes his spirit. Balsley is the personification of Dirk's self doubt. While getting no support from Balsley he is getting too much support from Bonnie. Her constant positivity becomes extremely annoying, she can't seem to leave Dirk alone to stew in his misery. She tries to cheer him up with talks of their shared future and some cuddling. Hayhurst loses his temper. He's been stretched too thin and is at his breaking point.

Will he ever succeed in the big leagues? Will he go through with his marriage to Bonnie as scheduled? Will she always correct him when he says "my career" instead of "our career"? Will he quit the game he's played his entire life? Will he make peace with his family? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Hayhurst is an informative and entertaining writer and while his story arc is worth reading on it's own, the little anecdotes about life in the Padres organization were gravy on the cake.

Best baseball book of 2012!

"But you don't have to take my word for it"

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