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

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  2,435 ratings  ·  259 reviews
In this real-life version of the movie "Bull Durham," pitcher Hayhurst chronicles a poignant year in Minor League Baseball.
Paperback, 340 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Citadel
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Moneyball by Michael LewisBall Four by Jim BoutonThe Boys of Summer by Roger KahnShoeless Joe by W.P. KinsellaThe Natural by Bernard Malamud
Best Baseball Books
23rd out of 398 books — 416 voters
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Tim "The Enchanter"
What baseball fan hasn't dreamed of what it would be like to play in the Big Leagues or imagined themselves in their teams home colours playing in front of thousand of friends, family and fans. For the vast majority of us, this dream was never closer than our own mind. The Bullpen Gospels provides a first hand account of a prospect's journey toward this dream. While at times the book is insightful, it is always honest while leaving the reader smiling and laughing.

If you had the opportunity to li...more
Catherine
I purchased this book after reading several glowing reviews. I hoped that Hayhurst would expose a behind-the-scenes look into the minor league experience with honesty and intelligence. Unfortunately, sad to say, I was disappointed.

There was far too much sophomoric, rowdy behavior, complete with all of the expected predictable elements including downloading porn from the Internet, drunken behavior and fart jokes. Really guys? Has anybody really not already heard about these worn-out juvenile she...more
Mark
I watch a whole heck of a lot of baseball games, and I am, of course, aware that all the players are people outside the context of being baseball players, but I don't think about it too much. This book is a reminder that I probably don't want to know those people, but good grief, are they hilarious in their offensive habits.

Hayhurst is a nobody grinding his way up through the minor leagues. The narrative - which is his true story, though I think most all of the names are changed or composite cha...more
Mark Ahrens
One of the greatest baseball books of modern times hit North America's books stores this week. Shockingly, it was written by a guy who was more interested in growing up to be Trevor Hoffman, not Peter Gammons. Those aren't my words. They are the opening sentences of ESPN baseball analyst Jayson Stark's review of The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst.

The book is receiving rave reviews not only for its baseball-related content, but also for Hayhurst's pained, personal story. But don't be confused....more
Michelle
For some reason I am obsessed with minor league baseball. Definitely a weird thing for a chick to be into (especially a married chick who isn’t a “cleat-chaser.”) Something about the grind of it, the struggle, the chance to make it big (for a very few) is appealing to me, not to mention game after game in small ballparks in the middle of nowhere. I guess, unlike the NFL, you can be drafted and slog around the minors for so many years, forever even. It takes a real dedication to keep going becaus...more
Jen
I really enjoyed reading this book. I'm not usually much one for non-fiction but I found Hayhurst's account of life in the minor leagues to be entertaining and revealing. The big theme of the book, about players being, at their core, just human beings, really shone through the stories, at times hilarious and at others touching. I laughed out loud at several points, and I kept going back to reread my favourite passages, like this one:
Describing his host family: "They had a pool, a spare room, and...more
M Christopher
This book has been compared to Jim Bouton's "Ball Four," which I first read as a preteen and is still one of my all-time favorites. The comparison is somewhat unfair to "The Bullpen Gospels" -- Hayhurst's work is less consistently funny and by no means as shocking but is more personal and touching than Bouton's work. Hayhurst is willing to reveal more of his own internal struggles than Bouton and includes his sad family history and its ongoing impact on his career. As he lets the reader into thi...more
Rachel
I LOVE this book. It's the minor league adventures of retired major league pitcher Dirk Hayhurst. I have never laughed so hard out loud while reading a book. Some of the stories he tells are so hilarious! Even if you don't like baseball, I think you will like this book.
zoey johnson
Fantastic. The best what-it's-like-to-play-baseball book I've read since Ball Four. And it's not just about baseball - Hayhurst takes us not just into the clubhouse and bullpen, but also into his own mind as he struggles with this place in the game, his family, and the world. Highly recommended.
Tom
The is the story of a baseball player, Dirk Hayhurst. He spent 2008-2009 in the major league with San Diego and Toronto. But the story focuses mainly on his struggle to play his way up from Single A to Triple A and finally to the show.

Those of you who don't know what I am talking about nay just as well stop reading now because it isn't going to get any better.

Hayhurst is involved in a struggle with his baseball, his family and trying to court and Marry the girl of his dreams.

His team is success...more
Dustin Gaughran
All of reviews on the covers of the book tout it as one of the best baseball books written in a very long time. And I agree wholeheartedly. This is easily the kind of book anyone can relate to, because it's not necessarily about baseball so much as it is about life in general. Baseball is the background music to the narrative. The players are people, grinding out a living, hoping to reach the bigs. They're home lives suck just as bad as ours, and they have to balance expectations with reality. I...more
Matt
Matt Mecca
Ms. Pryle
English H II
18 December 2013
Emotional in More Ways than One
*****
Athletes today are driven by the thrill of winning, the agony of defeat, and money. This latest installment in books about Major League Baseball ignores all of these to get down to the nitty gritty of the minor league system of the MLB. The Bullpen Gospels is an extremely intriguing book about a young man named Dirk Hayhurst who takes his journey through the minor leagues of baseballs on his way, he hopes, to an...more
Peter Nolan
More Than Meets the Eye
“There has got to be more to this than just living and dying for the opportunity to wear the uniform. If that’s all there is, then, I hate to say it, but professional baseball is a waste.” On the surface, the Bullpen Gospels may appear like another slap-together autobiography about a minor leaguer kicking it around in the minor leagues, and his unending stories of on field heroics and locker room debauchery the average person doesn’t get to experience. It’s not. Sure ther...more
Tim Beck
Jul 28, 2010 Tim Beck rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Erick Beiger
Shelves: 2010
there's always been something magical about baseball. i'll admit, i couldn't care less about the major league game these days - but the lure of the game and all that goes with it - the sights, sounds and feel of real live game being played in front of you (at any level, mind you) is something special.

thus i was drawn to The Bullpen Gospels for the same reason i've been drawn to Field of Dreams and The Natural. The same reason i always loved listening to my dad tell stories of Lou Boudreau and t...more
Jessica
Very disappointing. I was looking forward to reading this book, as it received heavy praise from respected sports writers. Clearly, though, my expectations were way off.

This book really isn't about baseball at all. Hayhurst spends very little time talking about what it's like to be a minor league *player*. Instead, he focuses on what he and his teammates do and talk about when they're in the clubhouse/on the bus. Almost everyone is referred to by nicknames, so you have no idea who anyone really...more
Christopher Bashforth
I started watching baseball a couple of years because my brother-in-law liked the sport and it filled in the sports gap during the European football off-season and now I look forward to the start of the season as much as the football one. I had heard that American sports writing was of high quality so I decided to pickup this book when on holiday in the US last year. I liked this book, which is about a couple of years in the life of a minor league player and the author writes well. Before I read...more
Tommy
you always hear about the life of these major leagues, but no body hears about the life about minor leagues. this book bullpen gospel shows us a life of a veteran minor Leger.

this book shows us about a minor league baseball players life. he was not good enough to play major league baseball but he was still good enough to get paid. if you get paid to play baseball you must be soooooooo gooooood. to even play in the low single A or even independent baseball. but this shows us how in the off seaso...more
Andrew Rosner
A fun and compelling read. Hayhurst writes about minor league baseball from such an interesting perspective that it's hard not to root for him. He's an intelligent and literate guy, but he also possesses a thoughtfulness that is rare among professional athletes. As his agent puts it, "You just used the words "fuck" and "Narnia" in the same sentence." To be sure, there's a lot of the usual male bonding stuff going on; lots of sex, lots of booze, and a seemingly endless supply of flatulence jokes...more
Craig Pittman
I've read a lot of baseball books, most of them about major leaguers, a few of them autobiographies. I can only recall one other memoir about life in the minors: "A False Spring" by Pat Jordan, a melancholy masterpiece. This book doesn't touch that one, and covers some of the same ground. The beginning is slow, brutal going, as Hayhurst chronicles his abysmal upbringing and how it spurred him to stick with baseball even in the face of failure. Then he at last takes the reader into the team setti...more
Folboteur
May 21, 2010 Folboteur rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Folboteur by: Keith Olbermann
I idolized different "heroes" than Dirk Hayhurst growing up, and yet it became clear midway through this 340 page romp of a book that he and I were experiencing the same lessons in life. Heroes on pedestals are merely people. A glamorous career will not shield you from dealing with life. What you DO with the tools you're given is more important than the tools themselves. Father/Son relationships are... uh... challenging.

It is this expression of universal experience, cloaked in the rags of a roug...more
Richard
As we all know, sports in general and baseball in particular is both popular and remarkable because of their metaphor to life. This book is as much about life as it is about the author's and his teams' 2007 season in the California and Texas Leagues.

At first, Dirk Hayhurst comes off as a complete jerk as he displays his complete disrespect for his dysfunctional family. However, beginning in Chapter 4 (of 48 total... they are all pretty short), he starts to gain a more mature understanding of bot...more
Rob
It's probably now trite, in the wake of Bull Durham, to observe that the bulk of the work in baseball happens in the minor leagues. This has always been true, but the lessons of this obvious truth take time to be delivered. Dirk Hayhurst gives us a honest and unflinching view of the gritty and unheroic life in the minors, replete with its comedy, joys, tedium, and hopes. Witnessed through the eyes of a man who at first believed baseball could repair his own broken home life and redeem him person...more
Jeremy
Great read. I'm rooting for Hayhurst to show up this year with Tampa Bay, where he's playing now in their farm system. Hayhurst is clearly a fantastic baseball player to have even gotten paid to play ball, let alone to play at the big league level. Add to that the fact that Hayhurst is a great writer and that his book is full of hilarious hijinks and deep lessons on life that transcend baseball and I definitely give it a better review than "Odd Man Out", which I also enjoyed immensely. I will sa...more
Gregory
From http://weeksnotice.blogspot.com/2010/...

If you like baseball, then you have to read Dirk Hayhurst's The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran (2010). It is not airy bow-tie George Will baseball, but nitty gritty Jim Bouton stuff. I have rarely laughed out loud as much as I did reading this book. Yet for all the raunchy parts (shared nudity and farting are important elements of a baseball career) Hayhurst thinks very deeply and intelligently about what it means to be...more
Ben
The book, The Bullpen Gospels: The Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran, by Dirk Hayhurst is a biography to some extent about his time in the Minor Leagues for baseball for a long time and how things aren't as great as they are playing in the MLB. It mainly talks about how it can be different each day depending on how good you play. One day you could be friends with everyone on your team and having a great time and the next you're flying on a plane to a completely different team, city,...more
Doug
I had somewhat ambivalent reactions to The Bullpen Gospels, but on the whole I was entertained. Hayhurst looks at baseball from the unusual perspective of a perennial minor leaguer. He's someone (this is my judgment, not his) without enough potential to get promoted rapidly to MLB status, but too potentially useful as a sort of understudy to bounce out of the system completely. Hayhurst also brings plenty of less unique Kid-With-Family-Issues to the table.

One thing that struck me throughout the...more
Bennett Gavrish
Grade: D

L/C Ratio: 10/90
(This means I estimate the author devoted 10% of his effort to creating a literary work of art and 90% of his effort to creating a commercial bestseller.)

Thematic Breakdown:
60% - Baseball
30% - Shenanigans
10% - Dysfunctional family


In search of something to get me in the mood for Opening Day, I picked up Hayhurst's 2010 baseball memoir, which revolves around his time in the lower levels of the San Diego Padres minor league system. I've been away from baseball nonfiction fo...more
Patrick Lemieux
I had the opportunity to meet Dirk very briefly at a book signing in Toronto just after this book came out. He was a pitcher with the Blue Jays and on the Disabled List with arm problems, but with a critically praised book to his name, the Jays were happy to let him run the promo circuit while he recovered. Unfortunately, he was sent back down to the minor leagues and eventually let go, so Toronto didn't get to see much of the "pitching author" in action. He's back in Toronto (at least during ba...more
Ken
Enjoyed this, little insight into the life of a minor league player

A season in the life of a minor league Pitcher Dirk Hayhurst. He starts out in Spring Training, expecting to go the Triple A but at the last minute is demoted to Single A. He plays there for a while and then is promoted to Double A, after a team slump they end up winning the 2007 League championship. We see history of a player whose home life wasn't the greatest. His father was injured
and ended up losing his job, his brother his...more
Don
Do you like baseball? Did you read Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" when it was published in 1970, as I did when I was fourteen years old? If not, there is no need to read this review, nor this book.

There is nothing intellectually compelling about this book. It is lucid, erudite, sometimes rude, often irreverent and always, laugh-out-loud funny. It details the intimate struggles of a journey-man, minor league pitcher who had a cup of coffee in "The Show".

Imagine Jean Paul Sartre's mind, embedded in the...more
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Drafted from Kent State University in 2003 as a senior sign, Dirk Hayhurst has pitched professionally for nine years on more than eight minor league teams and two major league teams, including the San Diego Padres and the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2011, he signed with the Tampa Bay Rays and pitched for their Triple-A team, the Durham Bulls, in Durham, NC. Hayhurst was born in Canton, Ohio, and resides...more
More about Dirk Hayhurst...
Out of My League: A Rookie's Survival in the Bigs Bigger Than the Game: Restitching a Major League Life Wild Pitches The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran Wild Pitches

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