Book Review: Out of My League
A few years ago, a friend asked if I had read the book Bullpen Gospels. I told him that I had heard of it, but never read it. When I asked him why he brought it up, he responded, “my girlfriends dad is mentioned in it, and not in a very positive light”. I was intrigued and I had heard good things about the book. Just a few weeks later, the author was picked up as a big league invitee to the Rays spring training. The Rays Index carried a piece he wrote about the first fime he faced his new (and shortlived) teammate, Manny Ramirez. I was hooked and immediately downloaded the book. I must have read it in just a few days and loved every page. I became mildly obsessed with the author Dirk Hayhurst. (Blog & Twitter) The Bullpen Gospel’s is the laugh-out-loud tale of minor league hijinx with a more serious set of themes deftly woven into its pages. (I thought I had written a review for the blog here, but I guess I just posted elsewhere. I’ll fix this soon.)
Out of My League picks up where the Bullpen Gospels leaves off. Dirk opens the story, still living on the floor of his batty grandmothers house. He has met a girl on e-Harmony and is trying to make a relationship work while hocking TV’s at Circuit City. The book then traces a two part storyline as Dirk makes his way through triple-A and eventually to the big leagues; all the while maintaining a long distance engagement and cross-country wedding planning.
While the book is not quite as funny as the Bullpen Gospels, it is far more piognant. There is a scene that humorously encapsulates the book. Dirk, who has just been called up to the bigs, is sitting on the bed at his 5-star hotel talking to his fiance who has flown out to see him. He is eating $100 room service pancakes while he bemoans the way that “the Show” changes people. He complains about his triple-A frineds who don’t act the same, who are aloof. The scene drips with irony and reminds me of the scene in Wayne’s World, where Wayne and Garth are trying to be eloquent about the way fame/money/endorsements change people, all while prominently pitching products. Very funny.
At the heart of Out of My League is a story about idolatry and dreams. Sometimes we think that acheiving a certain something will make us happy. We think, “If I just had x, I would be happy”. The trouble is that when we do finally get x, it doesn’t satisfy like we expect. Out of My League is an honest tale of the way that getting what we want can kill us.
Even if you don’t like baseball, the book is a fun read and a great tale of love and life.