Dirk Hayhurst Chat
Doug(former Akron Zip) (Homer City, Pa): How
did pitching for Mike Birkbeck at Kent State prepare you for the long
journey of professional baseball? Did you still stay in touch with Mike
after you were drafted, and do you know if he's read the book yet?
You know I actually talked with Mike
today! He's not read the book yet and I threaten to beat him over the
issue quite frequently. However, he's dealing with players even more
immature the minor leaguers- college age kids- so I have mercy, for now.
jonh (ohio): what college did u go to ???
Browning Nagle (Louisville): Were you ever close to quitting in the minors? How close did you get?
Oh Lord yes. In the book, I'm about as
close to quitting as I could get. I mean, there, to quote the book, is
a point in time in every person's life when you look at the direction
your heading and wonder if you're doing the right thing. The minors are
TOUGH. Not only in the reaching dreams are hard way, but also in the
living life with all this extra drama of baseball thrown on top of it
way. I had nothing after five years and life wasn't cutting my any
breaks. It was tough to keep going.
Jimmy (Unadilla. Ga.): Hi Dirk,
Thanks for the chat. Growing up, what did you want/plan to be. Was it
to be a baseball player, a writer or something entirely different?
I wanted to grow up and be a Giant
Robot Ninja. However, it was extremely difficult to get into giant
robot ninja school as you really have to have great tests scores, loads
of recommendations and then a natural penchant for all things ninja.
While I was a natural robot, I didn't have the athletic skill to pass
the ninja tests... but, life goes on, right? Though, I'm sure you can
imagine how hard it was for me when I found out I didn't have what it
Jimmy (Long Island): Dirk, how much do minor
leaguers care about the playoffs? Do you kind of not care who wins
really until the end of the year? Does it depend on how the team is
doing early in the year? I always wondered how guys strike a balance
between winning and doing what's best for them as a prospect.
A lot, actually. Not at the front of
the season- honestly- I mean, no one is gunning to get to the playoff
but gunning to get to the show, get outta the minors. However, once you
get there, well, that's different. Thats the first time that a team
really REALLY pulls together because there is something on the line
that everyone can share. The minors are weird because it's a team event
composed of individual goals. The playoffs are team goals again- you
all win as a team. I think this is also one of the biggest differences
between college and pro ball, in a way.
Ryan (Boca Raton, FL): I read an advance copy of the book (don't ask!) and I read that your father wasn't well physically. How is he doing?
He's doing better now that he's had
some counseling and depression medication added to his daily routine.
However, physically, he's deteriorating and that's hard to watch.
Thanks for asking.
Arlene (Clinton, S.C.): So at what point did you realize that you had a chance to be a big leaguer?
When they said I got the call up... you
know, baring I didn't get murdered on the way there or something.
Pretty exciting moment!
Terry (Redlands, CA): What has been your teammates reactions to your columns and what has been their reaction to the book?
At first, they wanted me dead. No,
seriously, that was a hard moment. You can read more about that in the
column I put up today here at BA
. (someone out there in moderation land
should link that and add it in =) After I wrote the piece about my
encounter with the boy with terminal liver cancer, I think everyone
realized I wasn't out for blood. There is a lot of paranoia around
baseball and writing. You can thank guys like Canseco for that. As for
as reactions to the book- fantastic. They love it. In fact, Drew Macias
call me to tell me I really nailed it (life in the minors) they are all
very pleased and that makes me fell great!
Garfoose Fan! (New York): How did you come up with the idea for the Garfoose? I love it! Is there a Garfoose sighting in the book?
That Garfoose is, well, a long story.
You can go to www.garfoose.com and read about how he came about. Fans
love it as it's an extension of the Doc Brown style eccentricity I
have. And Yes, you will find the Garfoose reference once in the book-
in the very....
TODD DONOVAN (Siena): I remember your video
with your crazy hair blowing in the Cal League; was that at Lancaster?
I guess I'm wondering what it was like pitching in that environment.
Anything comparable in your time in the big leagues?
Pitching in Lancaster is a pitcher's
worse nightmare. There are some horrific parks for ERA in the world and
that one is right up there. It's like Satan's architect plopped it
right in the middle of a jet-stream. A rough place to the point of
ludicrous humor. No, there are no places in the majors like that
(except maybe that porch in right field of Yankee stadium... but time
will validate that I guess)
Todd (Poway): As a Padres fan I first read
about you on MadFriars.com and you didn't have the nicest things to say
about them in the Bullpen Gospels. What is it about the web site that
you don't like? Did they write something negative about you?
Ahhh... yes... The Mad Friars. I was
not nice to them, and rightly so. The relationship has changed since
then, but I was mainly upset with the Mad Friars because my mother
worshiped them and they "Spiced up" their commentary about players
doing their best to keep their jobs in the minors with lines about how
we'd be "pummeled," "Smashed," "creamed,"etc... when we took the hill.
It has some not so friendly language about us and I resented that. That
publication, more then any other, mad me feel like a worthless set of
number and my mom believed it for reasons I'll let you readers discover
on your own.
Blogger (Mom's basement): When are you going to be on Olbermann's show, or did I miss that already. He is pimping your book pretty hard.
Yes, Keith has been wonderful to me.
And I have to tell you, I had no previous relationship to the guy. He
met me when he got a copy of gospels sent to him. He didn't owe me or
the Jays any favors and I didn't kiss butt to get the plugs. He loves
the book, that simple. Really, he loves baseball, loves the book, and
has been great to me. I don't know if I'll ever be on his show.
Actually, the thought of me being on there makes me nervous because the
whole show is a class act, seamlessly put together in perfect timing.
I'd be honored, but nervous as hell. I don't care where your politics
fall, he's got an amazing mind and an undeniable baseball pedigree.
Keith (NYC): What baseball books did you read growing up? Who were your literary influences? How about your pitching influences?
I read a book by Ron Guidry growing up.
That's the only baseball book I've ever read. I've said it before and
I'll say it again: I don't know my baseball history. I didn't follow it
much when I was young and I still don't know. True story, I met
Fernando Valenzuela Jr. my first day of spring training and asked him,
"So, Jr huh? Did your dad play?" He thought I was joking. I wasn't. My
literary influences were Alexander Dumass, Shane Claiborne, and
Salinger. And pitching wise, I love watching Maddux and Smoltz but wish
I had a once of what Peavy and Hallday do... sigh...
Not Grady (San Diego): Now that Grady Fuson
isn't running the Padres' farm system anymore, what can you say about
how, you know, he ran the Padres' farm system?
I suppose he ran it like anyone else
would except with a slight emphasis on Sabermetrics. I think he's a
good guy, but he was scary as hell to be around when you're a middling
minor league guy. We all have our mixed feelings about our bosses,
baseball is no exception. I wish him luck wherever he goes.
Dan (Ottawa): I am only half way done the
book, so you might answer this later, but what was your family's
reaction when you told them that you were writing about their lives for
Positive. When they read it and I was
worried at first, but when they finished they thought it did a lot in
the way of honesty and healing. They are extremely proud to know that
anyone, baseball player or otherwise, might be helped by the raw,
honest, and sometimes messy hardship they had to endure. And they are
pumped to know I might make the NYTimes best seller list!
Steve (Fort Worth, Texas): My son is a pitcher
at a JUCO program and has signed with a D1 for next year, but is
anxious to go to the minors. He'll be drafted this year. I know every
case is different, but how does going to the minors compare to a D1
when you're 20 years old?
My advice, unless he's going to make
bookoo bucks, got to college. Reason being, a college education will
pay for it's self several times over in the course of a life time. A
one time signing bonus, even a decent one, can be spent by an immature
person in record time, and, like the money, the career can be over just
as fast. An education is invaluable. If you have time and you know
he'll get another chance at the draft, I'd say go to school. Unless,
and there are a lot of kids out there like this, you think your son is
not the book learn'n type and that college wont be the best fit for
him- in which case I'd say do the draft and discuss rules for how he
should protect his financial future. The thing that is underestimated
in the draft is maturity and pro life style. It REALLY IS like I say it
is in the book. That's not a plug but a warning. The pro life is hard
on young minds with lots of money and something to prove. Do the best
you can, I'm sure you'll come out fine.
Susan (Everett, Wash.): Any shout-outs for a best teammate award? Any one from the book, like Drew Macias or Chase Headley?
Best teammate award goes to Ray
Halladay- That's Roy's evil left handed brother that was born in a
russian science lab. He's the most hard core bad-@ss of all time. He
owed me a favor for saving his pet rattle snake so he threatened Kevin
Towers to get me to the show. Couldn't have done it without you Ray!
Lord Licorice (Candyland): Would you ever
consider writing in a different context? It's obvious you have
imagination and a sense of humour, I can easily see you writing comic
books, if not for films and tv. What do you think?
I'd love to do that stuff. Problem is,
I have no idea where to begin. I think it my next book I am going to
break out a little more... yeah, that's right, I said it. NEXT BOOK
Lynn (Canadia): Hi Dirk. I loved your book. As
a Jays fan, though, my least favorite part was the pinstripes on the
cover. Ouch! If you could have done the cover art yourself, what would
it have looked like?
It would have been me being strangled
by my grandmother. Yeah, I know the pin-stripes got a lot of sneers
(sorry Yankees, I know you won it all, but a lot of people still don't
like you...) I also thought about me standing in the snow in my undies
with this pathetic smirk on my face... the Baseball Reaper next to me
with a foam finger that says #1 fan.
F. Scott (Massachusetts): Have you got a Great American Novel in you? Ever see yourself writing fiction?
I do have this one novel idea: Me, as a
13 year old living under may step-parents stairs. An owl shows up to
tell me I've selected to attend this school for wizard baseball players
located in Forks Washington. I go, meet this hot chick that is also a
vampire. She wants to bite me but cant, but we fall in love anyway.
Then, I discover that I'm really a chosen clone of Justin Bieber- who
is a super vampire using his music and pop stardom to enslave teenage
girls all over the world in some kind of trance. He's raising any army
to take over the world and the Jonas brothers are helping him. Me, the
Garfoose, and Mr. T form a club of extraordinary gentlemen and vow to
stop them- except... well, you'll have to buy the book to know the
rest. Should be a winner!
matt (california): I am just starting my professional career any suggestions to making it successful? What I need to do to move up the ladder?
Professional in what regards? Writing
or baseball playing? If baseball, I'd say keep a level head and realize
you are more then your Jersey says you are. That will let you unplug
from the day in ups and downs. The greatest strength any of us has is
knowing that our dreams are dreams, not wicked task masters that define
our existence. Also, it's wise to cultivate other things you are good
at and enjoy as those things will remind you you're aren't one
Beau (Baton Rouge): I saw your column here at
BA about Roy Halladay and how impressive he was. What other big
leaguers impressed you in a similar fashion? Any hitters? And who was
the best hitter you faced, major league or minor league?
The hardest hitter I've ever had to
face is John Mayberry Jr. AKA "Long Arms" (read the book) He 4-5 off me
with 5 homeruns. Seriously John, enough is enough, you've proved your
point... some people... And no, there is no pitcher that has impressed
me as far as workout goes like Roy. He's a machine. Seriously, he's a
cybernetic organism covered in human tissue- unreal.
Lord Licorice (Candyland): Have you heard
anything about whether or not you'll ever get your own baseball card?
I've seen none besides your classic Ft. Wayne Wizards one.. but I'm
ready for a Topps card with you and the Garfoose. Think there's a
I sure hope so. Garfoose wants a
baseball card more then I do. I'm not very good looking, but Garfoose
is extremely vain. He said he'd eat the camera guys if they don't pony
DAN (Ottawa): Any of your Blue Jays' teammates read your book yet?
I don't think so. I know Arron Hill has
read pieces because I gave him a copy months in advance in hopes to
score a blurb... He didn't get around to finishing it but in ST this
year he said, "I was surprised, it was, you know, good! I thought it
would be another baseball book..." I'll take it!
Dirk Hayhurst (Hudson Ohio): What's it like being so amazingly awesome?
Well Dirk, that's a great question and
you know, I'm so glad you asked. It's wonderful, really. Pay no mind to
the reason I answering, because admitting that there are no more
questions here in the que and I need something to talk about is really
quite depressing- so, I'll do what I do best, which is make up
imaginary friends so I feel cared about....
Lord Licorice (Candyland): What's your middle name?
Von. Dirk VON Hayhurst. True Story.
karim kanji (Toronto, Canada): Hey dude! I
asked a question over an hour ago. Maybe the moderator thought it was
I asked if the book brought healing to the relationship between you and
your brother and you and your father. Would love to hear how it's doing.
My Brother is still sober (applause!)
and my father is doing better (more applause) However, they are always
going to be broken people and they will always have struggles and
issues. My brother is moving forward the best he can, but the absence
of alcohol can make him a bit on edge. My father has since come out of
his depression and is more a father now then he has been in years. We
enjoyed easter dinner for the first time as a family is 8 years this
Max (Philadelphia, PA): How did you get Trevor Hoffman to give you a blurb?
Drugs, threats, and bribes. Also, I knew him and he is in the book in detail so that helped. But mostly threats.
Tim (Chicago): What is the nicest minor league park you have played in?
Memphis Red Birds Stadium in Memphis. The one in Frisco Texas is also a 5 star park, along with Dayton, but I love memphis...
Lord Licorice (Candyland): Blue Jays related
question.. Have you met Coach Brian Butterfield.. and are you familiar
with the *other* British Brian Butterfield? Which is awesomer?
Of course I've met Butter. He's a coach
on the team I PLAY FOR. He's a great guy with loads of positive,
contagious energy. Love they guy (seriously, I got posters of him on my
wall and stuff...) so it's hard for me to imagine any other Butterfield
Bentley (NY): Are you tired of The_Real_Bont tweeting how awesome your book is?
Absolutely not. He's a classy guy and I
enjoy him tweeting about my book. I realize that he's suffers from
advanced bed wetting and I think it's great he defies public ridicule
and chastisement and goes on living his life unabashed.
George (Eugene, Oregon): What was the best
part about playing in Eugene? The Ems don't play at Civic Stadium
anymore (last year was the last year), is it a good thing or a bad
thing in your opinion?
Good thing. As much history as the
stadium had, I was OLD and players do enjoy playing in modern
facilities. It's like working out at an old gym or working out at a
new, cutting edge facility with all the nice accouterments of the
craft. I hope they move someplace wonderful and may old civic stadium
Rick Vaughn (Cleveland): Any chance of a collection of player bios (twitter style) anytime soon?
Maybe, when all this book stuff settles
down, I may have more REAL jAY PLAYER BIOS for you. But you are wise to
come to the Garfoose for the TRUE stories about your baseball player
Lisa (Texas): Why did you make a Twitter account? It seems like a distracting concept if you ask me. Does it distract your game?
Let me ask you, how would it distract
me game? I mean, it's not like I tweet when I pitch... "Time, Let me
tweet that I just painted the corner and didn't get the call." No, I
don't think it's a distraction at all. In fact, I think it's a great
way to make the most of one's time as a player and connect with fans. I
think the deeper portion of that question is do you think it's wise for
athletes, on this public stage, to tweet while the play and again, I
think it's fine because this is an entertainment base job. In my humble
opinion, I think that if a player is responsible with his tweeting, he
can use it as a very good tool. If not, and there are no shortage of
idiots in uniform that don't need another mouth piece into the public,
then don't tweet. It's what you make of it, not in and of its self bad.
I have used Twitter to raise thousands of dollars for Haiti and Autism.
I'm proud of that. Social Media is going to increase in the future and
I think Players are at the front of that and you'll see more people you
didn't think would tweet doing so in the coming years. That's what I
John (Canada): What's your favourite thing about Toronto? What's your least?
The Dinosaurs in the Lake... What? You
haven't seen them? Dude, they are totally there. Them, and the beer.
Wonderful beer in TO and great, humorous people to share it with. Love
karim kanji (Toronto, Canada): OK. Enough of
the fluff. For everyone who's read the book, there is only one thing we
seriously want to know...What happened on the first night of your
You remember that earthquake? That one
that seemed to be accompanied by a chorus of angels? That was me!
*passes out high fives and digital cigars!*
Nykki (Washington): You have one of the
greatest personalities as well as an awesome sense of humor... have you
always been so outgoing and quirky...? (quirky in a good way, mind
Ah, thanks. (I'll pay you later ;-))
Phil (Kingston, ON): How's your glove flick? Could you teach Buehrle a thing or two?
I can't jostle my glove to much because
of the high tech instruments I have packed in it for cheating and so
on... very sensitive. That's also why I am a "terrible fielder"... our
Mike Gonz (New York): With so many top
prospects being fast tracked and then missing, is the promotion process
more political then ever with front office "types" trying to justify
large player bonuses by rushing these top prospects?
I don't think this is a new thing,
Mike. I think it's always been this way. What is new is the business of
prospect promoting. I mean, the media (specifically this site) loves to
know who is up and coming. There is more coverage for the minors and
more hype about their potential. Every year there are bigs names that
get fast tracked. This year we had "one of the best pitching prospects
of all time" get drafted and he's generated an increased interest in
the prospect world. Bonuses are only going to get larger and people
will track those big dollars to see if they pay out.
Roll Fizzlebeef (Canada): You're a very
eccentric person and player. In fact, I would wager that your pitching
motion, where your right leg extends upwards over the rest of your body
after the ball leaves your hand, is probably one of the most unique out
there. How did that develop?
I honestly don't know. When i was in
college I was told to kick to roof out with my back leg and I've being
doing it ever since. I really REALLY follow through. Always have.
Strange but it makes me unique!
Josh (Canada): Hi Dirk,
Just wondering do you find any difference with Canadian baseball fams
over American ones? Or are we just more scattered around a vast baron
landscape that could hold many Garfoose sanctuaries?
Canadian fans are way more Garfoose
friendly. When I get an email regarding my twitter account from someone
telling me to talk less about imagination and more about baseball, it
is almost always from an American
Iain (Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada): Dirk, are you sure you're not a lefthander?
I'm not sure. I haven't go the test results back but I expect them to mail my left arm back any day now.
Bryan (Milwaukee): Dirk,
I started following you because of your Garfoose. Where does an idea for something like that come from?
Imagination and a strong lack of friends... =) you can read more about him at www.garfoose.com
Max (Philadelphia, PA): But seriously, when can we expect a children's book about the Garfoose?
I don't know. I've tried but that's a
tough market to get into, seriously. Kids books are a blood thirsty,
cut throat, dog eat dog, market.... Still, I'm not going to give up!
Someday there WILL be a Garfoose book!
Taylor (Canada): Have you ever been to a
hockey game or do you ever plan on going? I ask because since you're
playing in Canada now, you should be accustomed to our culture, gain
some Worldly experience.
No, but I NEED to see one. Nothing like violence on ice! God bless Canada!
Randy (Toronto): Is Roy Halliday aware of the
stories you have shared about his twin brother Ray, and if so has he
said anything to you about it?
I don't know, but I'd love to see him
react to it! Haha, I'm sure a thing like that isn't even a blip on his
Radar. He's so focused, telling him Dirk Hayhurst invented a fictional
evil clone of him may, if anything, elicit an Adams Family Lurch type
response of- "Dirk Hayhurst.... uuuuhhhhh...."
DexF (Toronto): Dirk, any updates on your
recovery? Is there a timeline when you'll be ready to start rehab
throwing, or is everything still up in the air?
OK- I'm going to stop here- Last
Question! I don't know when I'll be back but I'm expected to return to
throwing within a month-ish. Then after they finish the bionic
implants, I should be back to rifling balls at 100mph in no time. They
can rebuild me- make me stronger- faster- more powerful then before!
Or, I'll just throw 88 to 90 with a funky delivery. Either or, as long
as I get to come back to TO and play again! Thanks everyone, this was a
great time. Here's wishing you all a wonderful season!
Jake (Ohio): Are you sure it's a good idea
writing a children's book on a half giraffe half moose that breathes
fire, likes to eat children and carries wifi?
Have you MET the children today?