Forgive me, for this is barely Padres-related, but I figure at least at least a few people would be interested...
If you don't know who Dirk Hayhurst is, he's an author and former MLB pitcher. He was in the Padres organization from 2003 when he was drafted in the 8th round until 2008 when he made his major league debut with the Pads. After that season he was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays and then spent the rest of his MLB career bouncing around the minors with the Blue Jays and Rays and going on and off the disabled list.
He has also spent some time as a motivational speaker and, as stated before, a writer. He started writing while he was in the minors and blogged about his experiences. His first book, The Bullpen Gospels, and his most recent book, Out of My League, chronicle his life as a baseball player and have both been met with very positive reviews (one even calls it the best baseball book of 2012!).
ANYWAY... earlier this year, Hayhurst signed a contract to play baseball for Nettuno, in Italy's professional baseball league, Serie A1. He was slated to be their opening day starter on March 30th, but on March 18th he tweeted that he had returned to the U.S. and would not be playing in Italy for personal reasons.
I'm back in the states. I regret I had to leave Italy for personal & professional reasons that I cannot fully disclose at this time.— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 18, 2012
It was surprising for those who follow his career but, like me, a lot of people just assumed he was given a better opportunity back in the States, which is understandable. Maybe he was offered another minor league contract. Or maybe it was something non-baseball-related. Either way, one would just assume there had to be a really good reason for him to leave the baseball team in Italy.
Turns out Hayhurst did in fact leave Italy for a better career opportunity. He recently went on Toronto radio station Sportsnet 590 to speak about the situation. You can listen to the interview here. But here is how he summed up his reasons for leaving:
There were a few major miscommunications, a few minor contract violations, somewhere in there I fought a herd of feral cats, I almost got arrested by the Italian police, one of my teammates legitimately had sex with a cow, and I got a better job offer.
However, Italian fans were angry about it. There was apparently a lot of backlash in Italy, which is also understandable. But the furor over his departure seemed to have turned very nasty, with negative comments and insults directed towards him from Nettuno.
There were some really really screwy miscommunication, disfunctional aspects. They all ganged up on me in one real brief amount of time and then, you know, there was an offer me to come back home and do something in the media that was extremely well compensated when you compare it to the Italian League. So it put me in a hard spot and ultimately I had to get out of Italy... oh yeah, and then the guy had sex with a cow.
He goes on to talk about the cow sex story, so you should probably listen to that interview yourself because it's GREAT. He also tells the feral cat story later on, which is also entertaining, but would probably be a much greater story if it didn't follow one about cow sex.
Anyway, I digress. Today, Hayhust went on Twitter to explain himself a little more and elaborate on how he was treated by Nettuno:
Okay, we need to clear something up: Italy. I left because of a better job opportunity OUTSIDE of baseball. I can't go into detail bc...— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 27, 2012
It's one of those sensitive legal negotiation disclosure issues. Suffice to say, I wouldn't have if it wasn't worth the risk. Yes, risk...— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 27, 2012
I still may not get the job, In which case, I burned a bridge for nothing. I tried to leave as professionally, and I regret going at all...— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 27, 2012
But, considering Italian baseball was a closed ended endeavor, I had to take the risk. That's the truth, and It SHOULD have stopped there...— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 27, 2012
BUT THEN, the Manager of Nettuno decided to have a field day slandering me with all manner of insults and lies and self serving bullshit.— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 27, 2012
He called me a coward, hiding injury, a bad man, a liar... Just recently, he called me Un-American for Christ sake!— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 27, 2012
He even said I would have never made it there if he was involved in the negotiation process... HE WAS! He called me before I came!— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 27, 2012
Not only did he toss me under the bus, but his whole organization as well. Absolutely classless, no need for it.— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 27, 2012
I digress. The organization is reputable but this fallout is sad and will damage it worse than my departure in the long run...— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 27, 2012
So, I tell you all this to tell you that next year the manager from Nettuno will be managing the Red Sox. Good luck with that...— Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose) March 27, 2012
Anyway, I just thought some of you, especially those who don't have Twitter, might be interested in what's going on with Dirk lately. Aside from just being a big fan of the guy, I finally started reading Out Of My league last night, so when I saw all his tweets today, I became enthralled by all of it. Also, I'm pretty excited to see what kind of media job he left Italy for. Whatever it is, I'm sure he'll be great at it. He says that the offer was "good enough to talk [him] out of ever playing baseball again." Although I was really pulling for him and would have liked to see him continue his dream of playing baseball, I'll be pulling for him to succeed in this new path he's taking as well.