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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 ???

Dirk Hayhurst: Kent State

    Browning Nagle (Louisville): Were you ever close to quitting in the minors? How close did you get?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 takes...

    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.

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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.

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 this book?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 dimensional.

    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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 chance?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 up.

    DAN (Ottawa): Any of your Blue Jays' teammates read your book yet?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 too heavy. 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.

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 Sunday.

    Max (Philadelphia, PA): How did you get Trevor Hoffman to give you a blurb?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 being superior.

    Bentley (NY): Are you tired of The_Real_Bont tweeting how awesome your book is?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 RIP

    Rick Vaughn (Cleveland): Any chance of a collection of player bios (twitter style) anytime soon?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 origins!

    Lisa (Texas): Why did you make a Twitter account? It seems like a distracting concept if you ask me. Does it distract your game?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 think anyway...

    John (Canada): What's your favourite thing about Toronto? What's your least?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 the city.

    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 marriage? ;)

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 you!!) :)

Dirk Hayhurst: Ah, thanks. (I'll pay you later ;-))

    Phil (Kingston, ON): How's your glove flick? Could you teach Buehrle a thing or two?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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 little secret.

    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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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.

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: 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?

Dirk Hayhurst: Have you MET the children today?