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Bigger Than the Game: Restitching a Major League Life Paperback – 25 Feb 2014

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Bigger Than the Game: Restitching a Major League Life + Out of My League: A Rookie's Survival in the Bigs + The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran
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Product details

  • Paperback: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel Press (25 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806534877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806534879
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 1.9 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 687,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Broekhof on 28 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Hayhurst's first couple of books so much that I had to order this book right away. It isn't as good as the others but it does reach the same level as his other books. He writes about his fears, his demons and how he confronts them and is able to explain things by digging into his past. Like I said it might not be as good as his first two books but it does come really close. Ones you start reading you won't be able to put it away. He makes you feel like you are actually right next to him while he tries to come back from his injury. Do keep writting Sir Hayhurst!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 49 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Gotta Love Dirk Hayhurst 26 Feb. 2014
By Pat O - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I laughed, I cried, I loved it. He really makes you feel that you're living his life along with him. Read it yesterday in one sitting. Sure hope he will continue to take us along for the ride.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Broken Athletes and What it Means to be Human 28 Mar. 2014
By D. Scott - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read all four of Dirk Hayhurst's books now and have enjoyed each one of them. Where the first three predominately focused on the lighter side of baseball (with terrific background into his troubled family, his supportive romance and subsequent marriage), "Bigger Than the Game" takes a slightly different tack. Dirk gets injured and his experiences move to the trials and tribulations of dealing with rehab, teammates resentful of his writing, and the realization that what makes one good on the field of competition is not necessarily what gives one an acceptable quality of life.

Dirk Hayhurst's writing is vulnerable and real. We are privy to the rarely seen shadow world of pro sports rehabbing and psychologists. A particularly funny section of the book takes place at the world famous Andrews Clinic in Birmingham, where Hayhurst encounters sadistic trainers, a baseball crazy nun, a living ghost of the old south, and wrestler Triple H.

The world of the injured player can be a difficult one. “I don’t think being lonely has anything to do with the number of people you’re around,” writes Hayhurst. Largely separated from the team during their physical rehab regimen, players are suddenly removed from the game they have devoted their lives to from an early age. With time suddenly on their hands basic insecurities often rise and introspection follows. Some cannot handle it. Some become depressed and turn to pain meds, some turn to alcohol, and some face difficult home lives. “Spring training for the injured is like detention. While everyone else is out having fun, sharing experiences in the game they love, you’re stuck inside doing tedious busywork.” While teams now often provide a sports psychologist to help players work through these problems, actually going to see one is seen as a sign of weakness by many in the game.

Hayhurst finally does go to the psychologist, albeit reluctantly, and works to come to terms with his difficulties. Professional sports is a business, and as a business it is performance based. “It’s like this,” he writes. “This whole industry is morally bankrupt. It’s full of fakes and bastards and arrogant SOBs who can get away with murder as long as they play great. And then, on the flip side, there’s a pocket of decent guys who deserve respect, but don’t get it if they don’t play well…but instead of trying to say we’re not a commodity, we just want to be the most valuable commodity possible…both sides say they hate it and yet both sides wouldn’t have it any other way.” Later, when he talks to wrestler Triple H at the Andrews Clinic, Hayhurst realizes that playing a sport professionally is “a job where people look at the role you play on television and feel they have the right to make up what your life should be like.”

If, as Yogi Berra said, 90 percent of baseball is half mental, the mental side of the game is much underrepresented in print. Players have to learn not only how to play the game, but how to play a role when they reach the elite levels of their sport. Many struggle off the field with this distinction, with disastrous results plucked right from today's headlines. Hayhurst encounters all of these issues and more. Instead of succumbing to his problems, he uses the time to step away from the intense competition of sport and get some much-needed perspective. “…at the end of the day, we were just grown men putting on costumes and playing children’s games. To take any of it more seriously than that was a mistake.” The money, competition, intensity and constant press coverage seems to warp perspectives and values in sports in a way that makes people glorify the game and forget that there are other things that are more important. Players coddled from a young age because of their athletic abilities often forget that there is much more out there that is bigger than the game.

Dirk Hayhurst gives us a rare and fascinating behind the scenes glimpse of broken athletes working out of the spotlight not just to return to form, but to discover and face what it really is to be human. “You know,” he writes, “I think I learned more about baseball this year than any season before it, and I didn't throw a single pitch.”
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Deep Thinking! 5 Mar. 2014
By Todd K - Published on
Format: Paperback
A new installment from Dirk Hayhurst is promised to bring humor and heart, but I wasn't expecting so much humility and honesty too. He bares all in Bigger than the Game, by addressing the issues of injury, depression, and prescription abuse. By dealing with the dark subject matter of mental health and relay funny stories that depict the absurdity of his situations is what makes this book so enjoyable, and quite possibly, the best of the three.

I love memoirs like his for their power to lift others out of hard-times with the notion that they are no alone. And by being so open to a national audience, there are simply endless connections for the reader to make with him. By being so transparent, he is proving more and more a role model for us all. Having just watched 42, I'm all about great baseball figures and have just started Jackie Robinson: My Own Story. I'm enjoying all of this!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Best one yet! 26 Feb. 2014
By Graypets - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I probably identified with this one more than the others. Both depression and disability-temporary or not-are part of my life as well. I missed his family in this one-they were off stage for the most part. But there was a large collection of surrogate family that made up for it. His writing just improves exponentially with every book. Dirk' s journey is always a great read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This time, it got personal 18 Mar. 2014
By Ken Liu - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been a baseball fan ever since I can remember. In fact, when I immigrated to the US at the age of 10, I saw baseball on TV for the first time and instantly fell in love with it. I wanted to be a baseball player when I grew up; alas, my talent didn't agree with me. It was a treat when I got to be in a major league clubhouse a few times. I love going to big league ball parks, but the more intimate setting of spring training, fall league, and the minors in general are more interesting to me.

Having read all 3.5 of Dirk's books, I can genuinely say that I'm more than just a fan. I can relate to Dirk's mental struggles, the heat that he took from his teammates, and his unintentional screw-ups. While his other books were entertaining on the baseball side of things, Bigger Than the Game really gave me a sense of the mental aspect that very few players care to share, for fear of being seen as not tough enough. I laughed through a lot of the stories he shared, cringed through the times when he didn't know what to do, and identified with him on some of the stuff I go through on a daily basis. It was as if he was right in front of me, telling me all these stories in person. And when I read about the dumbbell incident, my heart just sank for him, because I did the exact same thing twice and felt like an idiot for doing so both times.

It was also fun trying to figure out who the characters were in real life, although they weren't necessarily hard to solve. Perhaps Dirk could have used better alter-ego names that weren't derivatives of the players' real names. I can see why some players didn't want to be included in the book.

More than that, Dirk has inspired me to write my own stories. Maybe it's because he seems like just any other normal person, or the fact that he taught himself how to write. I feel like even a nobody with zero writing skills like me can figure something out if I tried hard enough. I truly believe that writing helped Dirk through his ups and downs, and now he's in a better place mentally because of it.
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