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

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  3,764 Ratings  ·  289 Reviews
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 sto
Paperback, 340 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Citadel
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Tim The Enchanter
Dec 30, 2011 Tim The Enchanter rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars, sports
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
Jan 17, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, baseball
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
Mar 12, 2016 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball, audiobook
Hayhurst is a long reliever in his fifth year in the minors, sent back to A ball after having seen AAA for a few games the previous year. This is his story about that year, working his way back up the baseball path. He bookends the stories about his baseball life that year with some stories about his troubled family. His family stories here are heartbreaking and sad, quite different from the bulk of the book, and I felt a little out of place. Another thing that threw me is that this has very few ...more
Apr 28, 2010 Catherine rated it liked it
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
Christian Ruzich
May 03, 2010 Christian Ruzich rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
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.
Mark Ahrens
Mar 31, 2010 Mark Ahrens rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 30, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
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
Scott  Breslove
Aug 16, 2011 Scott Breslove rated it it was amazing
Holy hell, Dirk is one hell of a writer. I really feel appreciative that I had a chance to sit down with him at the team hotel in Scranton when he was pitching with the Durham Bulls. He is an amazing, one of a kind guy. I just really wish I had read the book before I talked with him. After reading the book, you forget that this guy is only 30yrs old. His life experiences have really given him the insight and wisdom I can only compare to those old wise men that you see in movies, you know, where ...more
M Christopher
May 12, 2013 M Christopher rated it really liked it
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
Feb 03, 2014 Rachel rated it it was amazing
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.
May 14, 2017 Rodger rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
Minor league relief pitcher Dirk Hayhurst has written an excellent chronicle of his 2007 minor league baseball season. Rob Neyer's blurb on the book says "Bull Durham meets Ball Four" and I think those are good comparisons. Hayhurst describes the shenanigans and hardships of minor league baseball, told from his first-person perspective as a fringe prospect. Recommended.
Nov 01, 2011 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2013 Matt rated it it was amazing
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
May 03, 2010 jeremy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball, memoir-bio
dirk hayhurst may well be the antithesis of the stereotypical athlete, and his book, the bullpen gospels, is unlike any other sports memoir of late. chronicling the uncertain and often frustrating life of a professional ballplayer as he ascends and descends the minor league ranks, the bullpen gospels is more than just another tale of big league aspirations. already crowned as one of the finest baseball books ever written, hayhurst's autobiography really does live up to all the hype.

the story is
Apr 01, 2010 Christina rated it it was amazing
As a lifelong fan of baseball, and a Padres fan for the past 20 years, I would have picked this book up on my own I am sure. However, because it came so highly praised by Keith Olbermann and Bob Costas, I made the impulse decision when Keith first wrote about it to put it on pre-order at Amazon. So I was breaking my plan for this year of reading only books in my existing pile and put this one right at the front of the line when it arrived last week.

Rarely will a book meet the expectations of su
Jake Graziano
Dec 13, 2013 Jake Graziano rated it really liked it
Jake Graziano
Ms. Pryle
English II H
19 December 2013
5 out of 5 stars
Bullpen Gospels Book Review:
I really enjoyed reading this book and it is something that can be read by almost anyone. One would believe that this book is solely for baseball fans, but that is completely incorrect. This is a book rich with life lessons. Here is a quote that shows the mentality/life style of baseball players, "All right, Kangaroo Court is now in session, any swear words from this point on and it's a buck” (Hayhurst
Apr 03, 2010 Gregory rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction

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
May 21, 2010 Folboteur rated it it was amazing
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
Peter Nolan
Dec 18, 2013 Peter Nolan rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 27, 2010 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
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
Aaron Lozano
Feb 19, 2017 Aaron Lozano rated it it was amazing
Much better than the other Hayhurst book I read. To me he perfectly captures the culture of the game and it's many flaws, all while making you feel emotions ranging from disgust to laugh out loud happiness.
Feb 23, 2013 Doug rated it liked it
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
Bennett Gavrish
Mar 31, 2012 Bennett Gavrish rated it it was ok
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
Tim Beck
Jul 11, 2010 Tim Beck rated it really liked it
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
Brent Soderstrum
Oct 02, 2015 Brent Soderstrum rated it it was amazing
If you are a baseball fan and have ever wondered what it is really like to be a professional baseball player this is the book for you. Hayhurst holds nothing back in his description of his 2007 minor league season within the San Diego Padres minor league system.

The tale begins with the winter before spring training and takes you with Dirk to spring training. It addresses his disappointment of being sent back to high Class A ball which was a demotion. He has a good year and gets promoted back to
Mar 29, 2012 Richard rated it liked it
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
Jun 17, 2013 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2013
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
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
Patrick Lemieux
Jun 26, 2013 Patrick Lemieux rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 25, 2013 Rob rated it really liked it
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
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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
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