Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Book Review: Out of My League

Dirk Hayhurst. Out of My League: A Rookie's Survival in the Bigs. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2012. ISBN 978-0-8065-3553-1

I loved The Bullpen Gospels, Dirk Hayhurst's first book, so much that I went out of my way to recommend it to anyone who would listen. Unfortunately, I can't muster that much enthusiasm for his follow-up book Out of My League. In fact, I hesitate to recommend it at all.

While Gospels is primarily a humor book, League is not. I wouldn't expect him to be able to carry the accounts of minor-league baseball hijinks through a second book -- after all, locker room humor is just locker room humor no matter how many times one writes about it. However, I liked Hayhurst and his storytelling so much, I had high hopes for this story.

In Gospels, I really appreciated how he opened himself up and shared his self doubts and family struggles, and League focuses on that aspect of his life. Unfortunately however, this time he comes across as whiny and weak. As far as I can recall, the timeline of the two books is about the same. I understand that minor-league life is very difficult, especially for fringe-y talent players, but I found myself just wanting to scold him to buck up and do better. He didn't become sympathetic to me until the last few chapters.

This book lacked balance. He spent so much energy concentrating on his demons and fears, that his joys and successes seemed out of place and unappreciated. He does share his relationship with his girlfriend/fiancee, but he makes himself seem like such a jerk, I had a hard time believing they're really a happy couple.

I found this book very difficult to get through. My grade: C-.

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