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

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

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by Matt McCarthy
     
 

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"The best baseball book since Moneyball."

Hailed by critics as one of the great books about baseball, Odd Man Out captures the gritty essence of our national pastime as it is played outside the spot­light. Matt McCarthy, a decent left-handed starting pitcher on one of the worst squads in Yale history, earned a ticket to springSee more details below

Overview

"The best baseball book since Moneyball."

Hailed by critics as one of the great books about baseball, Odd Man Out captures the gritty essence of our national pastime as it is played outside the spot­light. Matt McCarthy, a decent left-handed starting pitcher on one of the worst squads in Yale history, earned a ticket to spring training as the twenty-sixth-round draft pick of the 2002 Anaheim Angels. This is the hilarious inside story of his year with the Provo Angels, Anaheim's minor league affiliate in the heart of Mormon country, as McCarthy navigates the ups and downs of an antic, grueling season, filled with cross-country bus trips, bizarre rivalries, and wild locker-room hijinks.

Editorial Reviews

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.)

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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:
9781101015933
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/19/2009
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
199,935
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

L. Jon Wertheim
"For an odd man out, Matt McCarthy is also the consummate insider. This honest account of life in the minors is equal parts rollicking travelogue, cultural criticism, and coming-of-age story. If McCarthy's pitching abilities were as accurate and strong as his storytelling talent, he'd be in The Show."--(L. Jon Wertheim, senior writer, Sports Illustrated, and author of Blood in the Cage)
Jonathan Mahler
"So this is what it's really like to live every boy's dream of getting drafted by a big-league team! I don't know a single baseball fan who will be able to resist Matt McCarthy's portrait of his hilariously grim-and yet somehow enviable-tour in the minor leagues. Part Bull Durham, part Ball Four, Odd Man Out is simply the best baseball book I've read in years."--(Jonathan Mahler, author of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning)
Jeremy Schaap
"Twenty years after the release of Bull Durham, the ultimate movie about the minor leagues, we now have Matt McCarthy's Odd Man Out, the ultimate minor league memoir. If you want insight, irreverence, honesty and even a healthy dose of political incorrectness-not to mention an invaluable look at the state of the national pastime-McCarthy delivers. As a pitcher, he might have been a minor leaguer; as a memoirist, McCarthy's an all-star. Odd Man Out is the best baseball book since Moneyball."--(Jeremy Schaap, author of Cinderella Man: James J. Braddock, Max Baer and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History)
Joe Posnanski
"Matt McCarthy has written something here that will make you laugh a lot and, even more, bring you closer to the game. It's a terrific book, and a lot of fun."--(Joe Posnanski, author of The Soul of Baseball: A Trip Through Buck O'Neill's America)
Jim Collins
"Matt McCarthy has pitched a gem: a decidedly non-dreamy-eyed look at young ballplayers in the low minors who dream of making it to the major league. Full of characters and curveballs, Odd Man Out should find a place on the shelf next to Pat Jordan's A False Spring-both tell it like it is."--(Jim Collins, author of The Last Best League)

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