What is a baseball fan to do during the offseason, or on your team’s off day, or the evening when you team plays a day game, or…you get the picture. Even the most rabid of baseball fan needs something to occupy their time between games. For some of us, when there is no game to watch or no play by play to hear, we like to read about the game. That’s probably what brought you to this site in the first place. From time to time in a feature, Books for the Baseball Fan, we will take a look at books written about baseball or by baseball players. We will tell you if we think its a homerun or a strikeout and whether you should spend your precious non baseball viewing/listening time with your nose between the pages.
The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran
Written by Dirk Hayhurst
First Published: April 1, 2010
What baseball fan hasn’t dreamed of what it would be like to play in the Big Leagues or imagined themselves in their teams home colours playing in front of thousand of friends, family and fans. For the vast majority of us, this dream was never closer than our own mind. The Bullpen Gospels provides a first hand account of a prospect’s journey toward this dream. While at times the book is insightful, it is always honest while leaving the reader smiling and laughing.
If you had the opportunity to listen to Toronto Blue Jays games during the 2013 season or followed the 2008 San Diego Padres or the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays, the name Dirk Hayhurst should be familiar. The former pitcher turned broadcaster/writer tells tales of his experiences through his 2005-2007 minor league seasons. While his story has some highs, it is mostly filled with lows. In his self-effacing manner, the reader is left laughing at the authors misfortune while rooting for his success. Dirk spins tales of the life of a prospect and the reader is invited into the locker room, the hotels and team bus. While there are a few stories of players you may know, it is certainly not a tell all memoir in the vein of Jose Canseco’s Juiced. Dirk is respectful but honest.
The reader quickly realizes that there is very little glory (or money) on the minor league trail. In the absence of money for entertainment, the boys in the locker create their own. There is no lack of pranks, jokes or adolescent behaviour serving as a background to the author’s quest for his dream. The reader is provided a glimpse into what builds a team, the competition to succeed and the various ways you might run into a naked teammate.
What will the Baseball Fan Enjoy
The average Major League Baseball fan has little idea of what happens in the minor leagues. The Baseball Fan will enjoy learning about what their favorite young players endured to get to the Big Show. The Baseball Fan will enjoy the cameo appearances from big name players that they know. In this volume, there are several stories involving Trevor Hoffman and it enjoyable to see the player somewhere other than the mound. Mostly, the Baseball Fan will enjoy that the book involves the actual game from the perspective of a player who made it farther than most of us ever will. As a caution, the Baseball Fan that does not enjoy adult language may want to avoid this book despite my recommendation. There is moderately high use of adult language which may offend some readers.
Strikeout or Homerun?
The Bullpen Gospels is an easy homerun. This behind the scenes look is both well written and honestly funny. There is appeal for the rabid fan as well as the nominal fan. I recommend this read to fill in the space between baseball games. The Bullpen Gospels is available at all major bookstores and online.