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

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

by Dirk Hayhurst
4.2 94

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The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran by Dirk Hayhurst

From the humble heights of a Class-A pitcher's mound to the deflating lows of sleeping on his gun-toting grandmother's air mattress, veteran reliever Dirk Hayhurst steps out of the bullpen to deliver the best pitch of his career--a raw, unflinching and surprisingly moving account of his life in the minors.

I enjoyed the visualizations, maybe a little too much, and would stop only when I felt I'd centered myself. . .or after one of my teammates hit me in the nuts with the rosin bag while my eyes were closed.

Hilariously self-effacing and brutally honest, Hayhurst captures the absurdities, the grim realities, and the occasional nuggets of hard-won wisdom culled from four seasons in the minors. Whether training tarantulas to protect his room from thieving employees in a backwater hotel, watching the raging battles fought between his partially paralyzed father and his alcoholic brother, or absorbing the gentle mockery of some not-quite-starstruck schoolchildren, Dirk reveals a side of baseball, and life, rarely seen on ESPN.

My career has crash-landed on the floor of my grandma's old sewing room. If this is a dream come true, then dreams smell a lot like mothballs and Bengay.

Somewhere between Bull Durham and The Rookie, The Bullpen Gospels takes an unforgettable trot around the inglorious base paths of minor league baseball, where an inch separates a ball from a strike, and a razor-thin margin can be the difference between The Show or a long trip home.

"It's not often that someone comes along who is a good pitcher and a good writer." --King Kaufman, Salon

"After many minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years spent in the bullpen, I can verify that this is a true picture of baseball."
--Tim McCarver

"There are great truths within, of the kind usually unspoken. And as he expresses them, Dirk Hayhurst describes himself as 'a real person who moonlights as a baseball player.' In much the same manner, while The Bullpen Gospels chronicles how all of us face the impact when we learn reality is both far meaner and far richer than our dreams--it also moonlights as one of the best baseball books ever written."
--Keith Olbermann

"A bit of Jim Bouton, a bit of Jim Brosnan, a bit of Pat Jordan, a bit of crash Davis, and a whole lot of Dirk Hayhurst. Often hilarious, sometimes poignant. This is a really enjoyable baseball read."
--Bob Costas

"Fascinating. . .a perspective that fans rarely see."
--Trevor Hoffman, pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers

"The Bullpen Gospels is a rollicking good bus ride of a book. Hayhurst illuminates a baseball life not only with wit and humor, but also with thought-provoking introspection."
--Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated

"Dirk Hayhurst has written a fascinating, funny and honest account on life in the minor leagues. I loved it. Writers can't play baseball, but in this case, a player sure can write."
--Tim Kurkjian, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine, analyst/reporter ESPN television

"Bull Durham meets Ball Four in Dirk Hayhurst's hilarious and moving account of life in baseball's glamour-free bush leagues."
--Rob Neyer,

"If Holden Caulfield could dial up his fastball to 90 mph, he might have written this funny, touching memoir about a ballplayer at a career--and life--crossroads. He might have called it 'Pitcher in the Rye.' Instead, he left it to Dirk Hayhurst, the only writer in the business who can make you laugh, make you cry and strike out Ryan Howard."
--King Kaufman, Salon

"The Bullpen Gospels is a funny bone-tickling, tear duct-stimulating, feel-good story that will leave die-hard baseball fans--and die-hard human beings, for that matter--well, feeling good."
--Bob Mitchell, author of Once Upon a Fastball

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780806533964
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 04/01/2010
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 303,810
File size: 470 KB

About the Author

Dirk Hayhurst is a part time professional baseball player who enjoys comic books, video games, and a good sugar high. Dirk is a former member of the San Diego Padres, and currently a member of the Toronto Blue Jays where he is temporarily on the disabled list. He makes his home in Twinsburg, Ohio, with his wife Bonnie and their pet garfoose.

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Bullpen Gospels 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
Baseball_Girl_C20 More than 1 year ago
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.
MikeS More than 1 year ago
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.
Xander829 More than 1 year ago
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:
Mybookreview More than 1 year ago
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.
dinofire More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lifelong Baseball-fan I expected an interesting insight from the players perspective. I got way more though: a truly funny, honest and well-written book about the behind-the-scenes of professional Baseball. Must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not quite halfway through it, and I keep wondering why I go back. Maybe because I'm hoping to find some of the humor that other readers describe. Haven't come across anything even close to funny yet. Crude, vulgar, disgusting -- yeah, there's plenty of that, for sure. But calling it one of the best baseball books ever -- I wouldn't call it that if it were the only baseball book ever written. I may have to give it at least one star, because I doubt if this review will allow me to give it no stars. Don't waste your time or money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Whitls More than 1 year ago
“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!
LynnLovesBooks More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, interesting insight, honest picture of life in Minor League Baseball.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello. Would u like to join a team?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
rgetch More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable and entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
BookreaderrBob More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is just one locker raunchy jokr aftrr another. I expectef more.
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