Typically, I won’t buy a book after watching its author spend the day promoting it online. Typically, I won’t download said book to my phone instead of waiting until the next day to pick it up from a bookstore.
Then again, Out of My League is not a typical book.
Dirk Hayhurst is a minor league pitcher chasing the elusive major league dream. He lives with his grandmother. He dates Bonnie, a music therapist from eHarmony. He diligently climbs the rungs of the Padres’ farm system. And one day, he gets The Call.
It’s a touching story of hard work, success, and failure, but not one made unique by any event Dirk so vividly details. Rather, it’s the way he builds character, humor, and candor into each chapter that elicits both empathy and admiration. You get the feeling that there is nothing you could ask him that he wouldn’t reveal, from the tumult of his family life, to the triumph of his love life, to the struggle of his personal life.
Of course, the stories are pretty wild, too. Dirk invents the Garfoose, a mythical animal that doubles as his Twitter handle and serves as a good luck charm in his career. He gets caught in the middle of a transvestite convention. He boards a plane full of players in Hooters uniforms.
(And really, if the above paragraph doesn’t inspire you to pick up this book, nothing will.)
In one of the most moving parts of the book, Dirk’s loyalty to a major league baseball career is called into question. Despite a lifelong pursuit of the ultimate baseball dream, he is challenged when that dream begins to change shape. “I realized that everyone has their reasons to play,” he says, watching a fellow teammate take the mound. “But whatever those reasons are, to work they have to be able to change, to evolve, just like we do.” Dirk wrestles with the reasons fueling his career from page 1 to page 406 (relax, I’m talking about the Kindle edition), and finally finds peace in a life that encompasses both baseball and family. Of course, to discover just how he makes his peace with this, you’ll have to read the book… and probably the next one he writes, too.
Now, I could write a compelling final paragraph that will have you speeding to the nearest Barnes & Noble, but I’ll make this easy on you. You can purchase Out of My League here. Download it. Read it. And then go follow Dirk Hayhurst (TheGarfoose) on Twitter and tell him how his book has, hopefully, impacted your understanding and appreciation for America’s pastime.