Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Baseball writing you shouldn't miss

Back around the All-Star break, I learned that Twins relief pitcher Pat Neshek has a blog, in which he reveals that, well, he's a baseball nerd. As he put it in his pitch to fans to vote him into the last spot on the All-Star squad, if he weren't playing baseball, he'd be watching and reading and writing about it, like all of us. On top of that, he's obsessed with baseball cards.

Speaking of baseball cards, I know I've pointed out Josh Wilker's Cardboard Gods blog before, but it's been particularly good lately and seemed worth noting again. It's less about baseball per se than about how the way that baseball provides landmarks and highlights that help us to remember, preserve, and even sometimes to understand our lives--and it's really good.

Finally, a link at Baseball Primer today introduced me to Dirk Hayhurst, a minor-league pitcher who writes the Diary of a Non-Prospect for Baseball America. The column that drew my attention was a thoughtful, well-written piece about signing autographs, but his columns on early-morning bus rides and manning the ball bucket are also well worth your time. Hayhurst has a good eye and a surprisingly nuanced perspective on his profession, and while he's just a beginning writer, he clearly understands how to tell a story.

I wrote to him to tell him how much I enjoyed his column, and I got the following response:

I had no Idea my little story was out there in so many places. Its very
flattering to see because I honestly don't consider myself a very
talented writer. I have never done it before- no previous experience
etc... I just wanted to capture as many sides of the life of a real
person playing a surreal job. I didn't loose my humanity when I put this
uniform on, in fact, I'd say it became more real to me. What I used to
think about baseball before I signed is not the same as what I think
about it now. I guess I used to think this job, this high profile title
of pro-athlete would answer all my questions about life. IT just gave me
more. Why are so many of us pro anythings so distant? Why are we so
beloved for such a trivial job? Why do kids want my autograph when their parents make 8 times as much as I do!? Why am I more revered then a Doctor? I don't know, but I'll do my best to make the most of, because whether it makes sense of not, I have the opportunity to help- I'm going to take it.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to post this on any site you wish.

The indexing at Baseball America is poor, but if you search on Hayhurst's name, you'll find quite a few columns. Here's wishing him luck in pitching and writing.

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