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The Bullpen Gospels: A Non-Prospect's Pursuit of the Major Leagues and the Meaning of Life Paperback – Apr 1 2010

23 customer reviews

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  • The Bullpen Gospels: A Non-Prospect's Pursuit of the Major Leagues and the Meaning of Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel; 1 edition (April 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806531436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806531434
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #104,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most helpful customer reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. Cumming on March 27 2010
Format: Paperback
I finished this book within 2 days (and one of those days I worked).....I loved the honesty and the story of an ordinary man's struggles in life with the backdrop of my favourite sport, baseball. One page I'd be laughing & the next I'd be reading through tears. I learned a lot about life in the minor leagues, even more about Dirk himself, but surprisingly I learned a lot about myself and how I look at things in life. A really great read. (And just to show the span of appeal, I'd like to mention that I'm a 50+ female.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sean C. Watson on March 30 2010
Format: Paperback
The meat of this story is how baseball figures into Hayhurst's life, something that seems like it would be obvious seeing as how he's a pro ball player and all, but turns out to be much more complex. Some of the biggest stand-out moments of the story don't really have much to do with baseball at all. The book manages to craft together the dark and depressing with the light and humorous without either ever overpowering the other. A lot of authors would get too caught up with the dark stuff and focus on the difficulties involved in the story and it's nice to see that Hayhurst can keep the story true to life simply by not losing perspective.

The book starts out by telling us that the book is not about scandal or drugs in baseball and that's entirely true. However, it does give perspective and from that it becomes more clear why some of the players might turn to drugs. Hayhurst gives an unflinching look at how much hinges on a day's success or failure how much pressure a professional athlete can put on themselves to succeed and how unforgiving they can be to themselves when they don't. After looking at things like this, you can start to see why players can buckle and do anything they can to try and give themselves a little bit extra on their swing or a few more mph on their fastball.

So, if you've ever wondered what it's like to play in the minor leagues, this book will show you everything, from the worst to the best. More than that though, it really does make you think about how we deal with disappointment and excitement and lets us see how sometimes we can lose sight of what's most important. It was a brave book to write.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LJ on April 5 2010
Format: Paperback
After reading the first few chapters of this book, I put it down and really didn't have time to get back into it.

...or so I thought. A few days later, I realized that I was making excuses to not get back to it. The truth was, those first few painful chapters hit too close to home for me.

I'm glad I got back on the horse, though. From chapter four on, I could hardly put it down. Once I accepted the fact that Hayhurst could eloquently reconcile the horrible parts of his life and the parts that were hysterical; I can't remember ever laughing so hard at a book. At one point, I laughed so hard, I had to put it down and retreat to my kitchen for some kleenex with which to blow my nose and wipe away my tears of hysteria. I'm sure my neighbors and the occupants of the office building behind my yard were staring. I offer no apologies.

Hayhurst is truly a gifted writer and an amazing role model for young people. If there are parents who are on the fence about whether or not to let a teenager read this book, I'd vote for letting them read it. Hayhurst has a way of telling his teammates' raunchy stories without glorifying their behaviour. He neither harshly judges them nor puts himself on a pedestal for his own abstinence from such shenanigans; he simply tells the story and it's a tale from which young and old alike can be both entertained and inspired.

I thought I knew the ending, and I still found myself holding my breath for the last few chapters! What a ride.

I wish him the best. I'm truly sorry for his current injury status. I selfishly hope that he spends that frustrating time pounding out another book before his triumphant return to the mound. I further selfishly hope that when he's back, he's still a Jay.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Lord on April 7 2010
Format: Paperback
It's a numbers game, Dirk Hayhurst's agent tells him as the minor league veteran braces for reassignment down to single-A ball. For most of us fans, the numbers game - sabermetrics, stats, fantasy ball - represent a good portion of our view of baseball. We second guess managers, bemoan the presence of players we view as dead weight on a roster. We can be calculating, cruel and unforgiving. But there's also the other half of the equation which draws us to the game, its intangible magic: the smell of fresh-cut grass, beer and hot dogs as we settle into our seats, whether in a big league stadium or at the local farm team's park. The unpredictable serendipity which allows an underdog to defy the odds and rise above. The never-say-die heart and hustle of a true gamer who refuses to lose. These two components, the numbers and the magic, harmonize to form the body and soul of our love of the game as fans.

But what about the players?

Hayhurst's "The Bullpen Gospels" deftly, brutally, and hilariously upends this entire cosmology, and demonstrates how players are both "magicked out", as he puts it, and forced to live under the pressure of being reduced to a set of stats in the eyes of the public. He writes extensively about the feeling of being a commodity, a stock to be picked up and dropped for maximum profit. The human face that Hayhurst puts on the mop-up long reliever brought in take care of a lost cause should give pause to any fan who cavalierly trashes such a player. Conversely, there's precious little of the glory, magic and wonder of the game we see from the outside for minor leaguers like Hayhurst and his teammates in the bullpen.
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