Customer Reviews for

The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran

Average Rating 4.5
( 93 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

An amazing story

I read the first chapter and was already hooked. Most books would just give the good parts of becoming a Major League Baseball player. This book speaks the truth. Dirk had already had me as a fan from his fan interactions online and I was slightly worried the book wo...
I read the first chapter and was already hooked. Most books would just give the good parts of becoming a Major League Baseball player. This book speaks the truth. Dirk had already had me as a fan from his fan interactions online and I was slightly worried the book would be a letdown. It was not a letdown *at all*. In fact, I can't imagine Dirk getting any better than this.

I definitely recommend this to any baseball fan and any baseball player. Both boys and girls would enjoy reading Dirk's work.

posted by Baseball_Girl_C20 on March 31, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Adolescent boys!

It seems like 95% of the book was about the rude, insensitive, pranks and sexual bragging of adolescent boys. Only about two events in the book showed any human kindness, mostly that was right at the end of the book. It was enlightening in that I had no idea that baseba...
It seems like 95% of the book was about the rude, insensitive, pranks and sexual bragging of adolescent boys. Only about two events in the book showed any human kindness, mostly that was right at the end of the book. It was enlightening in that I had no idea that baseball players behaved in such a manner. I learned from the book but it wasn't worth the time invested. It certainly did not live up, by any measure, to Keith Olbermann's assessment as "one of the best baseball books ever written" on the book's cover. My recommendation for that title goes to "Nine Innings" by Daniel Okrent.

posted by Mybookreview on May 5, 2010

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  • Posted March 31, 2010

    An amazing story

    I read the first chapter and was already hooked. Most books would just give the good parts of becoming a Major League Baseball player. This book speaks the truth. Dirk had already had me as a fan from his fan interactions online and I was slightly worried the book would be a letdown. It was not a letdown *at all*. In fact, I can't imagine Dirk getting any better than this.

    I definitely recommend this to any baseball fan and any baseball player. Both boys and girls would enjoy reading Dirk's work.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 16, 2010

    A Triple A effort, just short of the majors

    This is a journey through the 2007 minor league baseball season from High A to Double A as experienced by the author. Parts were fascinating, like the life of the minor league players, the travel, the living, the relationships. Parts were thrilling like the game descriptions. Parts were touching when the author gets personal with a few of the fans. Parts were sad when the author seeks solace from his family. But parts were overdone with frequent segments on the off-hour antics of some of the players. While those actions are part of minor league life and worthy of presentation, some of them, due to their number, seemed interminable. Overall the work was a trip worth taken. However, it was not what one commentator quoted on the cover of the book said, "one of the best baseball books every written." It was good, in parts great, funny, touching, sad and uplifting, but you had to leapfrog over some of the many passages devoted to the ill manners of teammates. In those passages we left touching for bizarre, caring for crass, reporting for scandal. That detracted from the overall feeling for the book. Its not that they didn't happen, but why do we have to know so many of them? The work is a good read, and with less attention to the immature, could have been a great one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Reaches the warning track, fails to quite leave the park

    Hayhurst emerges as a writer to watch here, though the final product of this book wound up being somewhat puzzling to me. Hayhurst is a gifted storyteller, quite adept at keeping the reader guessing. I found him most affecting when describing his inner thoughts, his mentality through the highs and lows of working his way through the minor leagues and encounters with his family and fans. The book is sporadically quite touching and moving, and the final few chapters are masterful. As other reviewers have alluded to, though, roughly half the book is spent relating the crude discussions and interactions of the ballplayers. Some of these tales are actually quite funny, particularly given the skill with which Hayhurst relates them. However, it all reaches a point where it's a bit too much, you just want him to get on with the story of his own career and stop talking about his boorish teammates. Quite interesting to me: It emerges as the story progresses that Hayhurst is a Christian, who at age 26 was still a virgin waiting for marriage and had yet to consume an alcoholic beverage. This potentially fascinating angle of the story was given short shrift, quite possibly intentionally so by a publisher that may have thought the tawdry, behind-the-scenes antics would sell to a certain readership. I couldn't escape the feeling that, given a different publisher's approach, this could have been told in quite a different fashion. Of course, this is being sold as a baseball book, not a Christian book. Still, I feel that if they'd stuck more to the baseball and trimmed 50 pages or so of the less funny crude stories, this could have achieved greatness. Instead, it is a highly entertaining and moving if imperfect read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2010

    The Bullpen Gospels is a fantastic read.

    It's already taken on rear reviews such as the best baseball book written in 40 years and while I have no idea if that's true, all I can provide is that The Bullpen Gospels is one entertaining read. The book is written by Dirk Hayhurst, a Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, as he gives a first-hand account of his experiences in grinding through the minor leagues in the Padres organization in 2007.

    While most of the reviews will be stunned with the notion of "a baseball player can write?!", Hayhurst does a superb job of reliving minor league ball and his dreams and failures throughout his life. I'm no literary agent or reviewer by any stretch of the imagination, but I usually judge a book by how well it holds my attention. The Bullpen Gospels did just that as I flew through its 340 pages in just a couple of days. As someone who has worked a couple of years in the minor leagues, I found it to be entertaining, funny, intriguing and an honest account of what goes on between teammates in the minors. And it left me wanting more from Hayhurst, including his ascension to the Majors where his book left off. Thankfully, he's been writing a seasonal blog for Baseball America that can be found via his website.

    I've read plenty of baseball books over the years, but most of them are second-hand biographies through countless interviews on legendary people and teams like Roberto Clemente or the Brooklyn Dodgers. As for a recent first-hand account of today's minor leagues and what it means to struggle to reach your dream, The Bullpen Gospels is the book for that. I highly recommend it to any baseball fan out there.

    Read more at my website: http://baseballwheelhouse.wordpress.com/2010/04/11/the-bullpen-gospels/

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Adolescent boys!

    It seems like 95% of the book was about the rude, insensitive, pranks and sexual bragging of adolescent boys. Only about two events in the book showed any human kindness, mostly that was right at the end of the book. It was enlightening in that I had no idea that baseball players behaved in such a manner. I learned from the book but it wasn't worth the time invested. It certainly did not live up, by any measure, to Keith Olbermann's assessment as "one of the best baseball books ever written" on the book's cover. My recommendation for that title goes to "Nine Innings" by Daniel Okrent.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Don't Judge This Book By Its Cover

    It is easy to glance at the cover and topic of this book, and to superficially log it mentally as yet another entry in the cascade of sports books written by former sports icons or wannabes. But no "inside the game" memoirs begin by painfully detailing the reality of living on the floor of a hateful grandmother's sewing room; a lifestyle that is nevertheless infinitely preferable to actually living in the demilitarized zone Dirk Hayhurst calls home.

    Even a casual baseball fan--particularly one who follows minor league professional ball with any degree of interest--will be entertained by the book's play-by-play of the on- and off-field exploits of a bunch of post-adolescent boys who earn a meager income by throwing baseballs instead of french fries. Hayhurst vividly and hilariously describes the details and tribulations of the remaining 21 hours each day that he and his team is not committed to fulfilling the public's limited vision of what happens between the baselines.

    Yet despite the theme of the book, baseball simply serves as the backdrop against which Hayhurst unfolds and unveils the personal pain he endures, compliments of a father who has abdicated his responsibility of caring about anything anymore, least of all holding a family intact. For Hayhurst, the minor league system is less an inconvenient stop on the way to San Diego, Toronto, or any other glistening gem of a big league park and lifestyle than it is a means of escape from a far worse life outcome. Many other grown men have to deal with the type of violent, dysfunctional family life that Hayhurst shares with us about his. But they stay in their difficult homes, work at their difficult jobs, and don't have the relative "luxury" of escaping on noisy, stinky buses to some dilapidated minor league town a continent away.

    For Hayhurst, the journey through the minors itself becomes the prize; any greater glamorous outcome is gravy. Exposing the seedy, steroid-laced, "naming names" side of professional sports is commonplace and tiresome in sports literature today. But using this literary category as a way to exorcise personal demons while entertaining a generation of baseball fans is novel and refreshing, and Hayhurst accomplishes it with class, sincerity, and honor.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2013

    ┬┐The Bullpen Gospels┬┐ by Dirk Hayhurst is an eye-opening novel.

    “The Bullpen Gospels” by Dirk Hayhurst is an eye-opening novel. The author goes through his process of making it into the Major Leagues. I grew up around baseball and have learned to love the game. So I ultimately loved the book because it was about baseball. It wasn’t just about the game though, and how they played it or how a team made it to the top. This novel was about what we, as fans, do not see. It explained the heartbreaking or life-making process the players go through. They go through the most emotional process, all for what, a lousy jersey that we, as fans take for granted? I think every sports fan, whether they like baseball or not, should read this book. “The Bullpen Gospels” makes you appreciate players and their hard work more and you really get to understand their lives. In my opinion I think a weakness of this book would be the amount of language and dirty jokes throughout it. But besides that Hayhurst does a great job explaining everything he is talking about like the baseball reaper or the thoughts that run through Dirk Hayhursts, the main character, mind. I especially love the ending; the author wraps everything up nicely. He also includes a lot of inspiring quotes. One of my favorites is, “I realized that the best of a person isn’t discovered in great accomplishments. The best part of a person is how he deals with the low points in his life, not the high ones.” This is definitely a must read!

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    Amusing and heartfelt look at "almost making it" I rea

    Amusing and heartfelt look at "almost making it"
    I read Dirk's Out of My League first, then found this prequel. Sometimes raw, always insightful, the book shares his journey through the less-than-glamorous world of the "feeder teams" that funnel into the well-know Major League teams. Examining self doubt, the power of helping another young boy's dream come true, and the belief in team spirit create a truthful and inspiring story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2012

    Fast Read

    Great book, interesting insight, honest picture of life in Minor League Baseball.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    I liked it! A little tedious but i can relate to the author

    Fair

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Hello

    Hello?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Jake Zunino

    Hello. Would u like to join a team?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Hilarious and real

    Having spent 12 years working with minor league pro sports and logged millions of miles on charter buses, this book summed it all up!

    I LAUGHED SO HARD I CRIED REPEATEDLY!

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  • Posted April 5, 2012

    Great read

    Enjoyable and entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Great story & quite funny!

    A thoroughly enjoyable story about life as a fringe prospect in the minor leagues. We see how Hayhurst struggles with his family situation while dealing with the inevitable ups and downs of pitching.

    There are many funny stories, a couple of touching ones, but the overarching one is seeing Hayhurst slowly become a man with a purpose.

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  • Posted March 23, 2012

    As an avid baseball fan, and minor league season ticket holder f

    As an avid baseball fan, and minor league season ticket holder for many years, I was prepared to be disappointed by yet another "tell all" book. BUT...I am happy to say that I wasn't disappointed at all, but pleasantly surprised. This book is very insightful, and will be an eye-opener for people who think that minor league baseball is anything like the major leagues. HIGHLY recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Mediocre

    This is just one locker raunchy jokr aftrr another. I expectef more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2011

    Great book

    Funny and touching, a very very good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2011

    Good read

    There is some foul language, but it's a great read overall.

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  • Posted November 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    More psychology than baseball

    I was ultimately disappointed in this book. While there were a lot of humorous insights into the life of a minor-league relief pitcher, so much of it was all about the author's struggles with his personal demons. Of which there was no shortage.

    I thought much of the language was unnecessarily uncouth, if not downright vulgar.

    My brother-in-law, who actually was a minor-league pitcher in the early 60's, says the game and the players were totally different then. He wasn't impressed with the book either.

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