Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit

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Overview

"Matt McCarthy never expected to get drafted by a Major League Baseball team. A molecular biophysics major at Yale, he was a decent left-handed starter for a dismal college team. But good southpaws are hard to find, and when the Anaheim Angels selected him in the twenty-first round of the 2002 draft, McCarthy jumped at the chance to live every boy's dream." "In Odd Man Out, McCarthy tells the captivating and hilarious story of his year with the Provo Angels, Anaheim's Class A minor league affiliate in the heart of Mormon country. He quickly

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Overview

"Matt McCarthy never expected to get drafted by a Major League Baseball team. A molecular biophysics major at Yale, he was a decent left-handed starter for a dismal college team. But good southpaws are hard to find, and when the Anaheim Angels selected him in the twenty-first round of the 2002 draft, McCarthy jumped at the chance to live every boy's dream." "In Odd Man Out, McCarthy tells the captivating and hilarious story of his year with the Provo Angels, Anaheim's Class A minor league affiliate in the heart of Mormon country. He quickly discovers the dirty truths of the minors: the Americans and Dominicans don't speak to each other, the allure of steroids is ever present, and everyone puts his own stats ahead of the team's success. With a brilliant eye for baseball's character, McCarthy takes readers through the ups and downs of an antic, grueling season filled with cross-country road trips, bizarre rivalries, and players competing with cutthroat intensity for the ultimate prize - a call up to the majors." In the spirit of Ball Four, McCarthy recounts inside-the-locker-room tales of teammates who would go on to stardom, including Bobby Jenks, Joe Saunders, and Ervin Santana. Odd Man Out is one of the great books about baseball life, capturing with rare perfection the gritty essence of our national pastime as it is played outside the spotlight.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Many, perhaps even most avid fans play a variety of fantasy baseball that doesn't require access to any web site. Whether we're accountants or engineers, successful CEOs or railroad conductors, we imagine ourselves pitching no-hitters or hitting home runs for the Yankees or the Pirates or the Twins. In Odd Man Out, Yale-educated biochemist Matt McCarthy writes about how he lived out those dreams with a one-year stint as a middling southpaw hurler with the minor league Provo Angels. The valor of his somewhat inglorious career (this future physician would end his pro career with a 0-1 record) is matched by the incongruities of his surroundings: The Angels locker room was the home of silent ethnic wars and cutthroat competition.
Publishers Weekly

While his professional baseball career lasted for just one summer, McCarthy still compiled enough incidents and anecdotes to make for an eye-opening read about the wildly unpredictable life of a minor-league ballplayer. Drafted in 2002 by the Anaheim Angels, the Yale-educated left-hander was eventually shipped off to the Angels' rookie team in Provo, Utah, where he had to not only adjust to the grueling schedule of a professional athlete but also to the culture of a heavily Mormon town. McCarthy shatters the idea of a glamorous lifestyle in the minor leagues-from the agonizingly long bus rides to the never-ending meals in chain restaurants and minuscule paychecks. He also portrays the unflattering aspects of the game, be it the divide between the American and Hispanic players, or the constant inner struggle on whether to take performance-enhancing drugs. But there are plenty of humorous (and sometimes obscene) stories sprinkled in. All the while, McCarthy writes of his own personal struggles as a pitcher and the constant physical and mental strain he endured to keep alive the dream of one day making it to the major leagues. While the book sometimes reads like a journal (which he kept throughout the summer), McCarthy can be an effective storyteller. It's a pull-no-punches work that will give many baseball fans a glimpse into a part of baseball not seen on ESPN's SportsCenter. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

As his book's promo promises, McCarthy-he's the titular misfit-captures "the gritty essence of our national pastime as it is played outside the spotlight." McCarthy entered the Angels' farm system when he was drafted out of Yale for his southpaw possibilities. Here, he narrates the story of his year in Class A baseball with a roster of lively personalities. A great memoir for baseball fans in all public libraries.


—Margaret Heilbrun, Gilles Renaud
Kirkus Reviews
McCarthy's debut recounts his brief pitching career with the Provo Angels. His well-told, insightful memoir should brighten the off-season for serious baseball fans. It provides a colorful, inside look at the distinctly unglamorous life of the minor-league ballplayer, complete with shabby hotels, 17-hour bus rides and little hope of making it to the majors. A 21-year-old lefty out of Yale, McCarthy had a less-than-meteoric start to his pro career in 2002. Drafted in the 21st round, he received a $1,000 signing bonus and a salary of $850 per month, out of which the team deducted fees for laundry detergent for uniforms and snacks for those long bus rides. Readers expecting tales of hard drinking and rolls in the hay with minor-league groupies a la Bull Durham will be disappointed. Provo, Utah, was dominated by the Mormon Church and Brigham Young University, where alcohol was contraband and the co-eds were squeaky clean. McCarthy had no casual flings on the road, and he doggedly abstained from the steroids used by many of his teammates. The clubhouse did shelter a few memorable characters, chief among them the team's veteran manager, who occasionally unveiled a large black dildo as a good luck charm and wasn't above showing his displeasure by stocking the players' lockers with tampons and diapers. The author offers some sociological insights. Dominican and white players rarely interacted, he notes, and teammates often found themselves secretly rooting against each other-a byproduct of too many players vying for too few roster spots. We meet rising stars like Prince Fielder, Howie Kendrick and Bobby Jenks, and plenty of lesser-knowns on the way down. But mostly we meet wide-eyed youngrecruits like McCarthy, struggling to cling to a dream that deep down they know will never be realized. Entertaining and highly readable, though it lacks the fireworks to satisfy casual fans. Agent: Scott Waxman/Waxman Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670020706
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/19/2009
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Matt McCarthy left professional baseball in 2003 and enrolled in medical school at Harvard University. He is an intern at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 19 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 12, 2010

    Good entertainment

    Very good book. Entertaining, funny and very well written

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    Very Good Reading

    Fun, entertaining, and enlightening book on minor league adventures in the Pioneer League. Insightful and of great interest especially since we live in the heart of the Pioneer League and Mormon country and often attend Pioneer League games. Good read for any baseball fan - lots of humor and good story telling. Enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Entertaining

    Very good first effort by Matt McCarthy. He seemed a little cynical at times, but i'm sure a year in Provo will do that to you. I thought the book was well written and flowed extremely well. The last ten pages or so were very touching. I thought it was a classy way to address the importance of God in another persons life. Highly recommended, fun read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2009

    Great read for a true baseball fan.

    Brings home the fact of the difficulty in making it in the Big Leagues. Could be inspirational for a teenage boy with a passion for the game.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    Odd Man Out

    I enjoyed this book very much. If your into Baseball at all you will enjoy this book. It has a lot of insite into what playing in the minors is all about. and what these young man have to go through before they can make it to the big leagues.

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  • Posted February 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Bulldog in Provo

    A readable insider's portrait of what it's like trying to survive a season of Single A ball in (of all places) Provo, Utah. Along the way you'll learn what it means to be "naked" on the field, what a "Jack Mormon" is, and that all Latin players, regardless of origin, are referred to by their white teammates (and coaches) as "Dominicans". As that rare pitching prospect who's an Ivy Leaguer (in this case, Yale), the lefthander Matt McCarthy sometimes comes off as condescending, but as a first-time author he does a creditable job of recounting the social life of the clubhouse, his struggles on the mound, those marathon overnight bus rides for away games, and, best of all, the endearing passion, vulgarity, and short fuse of his manager, the larger-than-life Tom Kotchman (who happens to be the father of major league 1st baseman Casey Kotchman).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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