A revealing yet occasionally tedious, seasonlong account of a major league pitcher on the outs.
Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Hayhurst (Out of My League, 2012, etc.) began what would be his final season in 2010 training "like a beast" and anticipating the publication of his book, The Bullpen Gospels, on opening day. However, he had to win over skeptics who believed anyone who wrote from the inside violated the locker room code and therefore could never be trusted as reliable. Furthermore, talking to the press corps during spring training to garner publicity for his book caused teammates to question his motives, particularly a cocky, malicious pitcher who nicknamed him "Media," and encouraged several teammates to turn against him. Hayhurst wanted to prove he belonged, but he started the season relegated to the training room on the 60-day disabled list with an arm injury—and it only got worse. The combination of prolonged pain and social ostracism made him panicky, and the author admits, "it was a delicate balance of trying to get healthy physically and not unraveling mentally into some anxious, why-am-I-not-healthy mess.” Rarely does an athlete admit publicly to feeling anxious, afraid or depressed, but Hayhurst candidly shows readers that he was fraying both emotionally and physically. (One line sums it up nicely: "Arm pain can make your whole life hurt.") However, the author draws out his emotionally honest story with unnecessary, lengthy accounts of interactions with coaches and trainers, as well as intimate conversations with his wife. Several chapters devoted to his rehabilitation program lend no insight or deeper understanding of his pain.
A flawed yet unique, personal story of an athlete's anguish at the end of his career.