Odd Man Out

 
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Product Description

A Season on the Mound with Minor League Baseball-s Most Unlikely Pitcher

Matt McCarthy never expected to get drafted by a Major League Baseball team. A molecular biophysics major at Yale, he was a decent left-handed starter for a dismal college team. But good southpaws are hard to find, and when the Anaheim Angels selected him in the twenty-first round of the 2002 draft, McCarthy jumped at the chance to live every boy-s dream.

In Odd Man Out, McCarthy tells the captivating and hilarious story of his year with the Provo Angels, Anaheim-s Class A minor league affiliate in the heart of Mormon country. He quickly discovers the dirty truths of the minors: the Americans and Dominicans don-t speak to each other, the allure of steroids is ever present, and everyone puts his own stats ahead of the team-s success. With a brilliant eye for baseball-s character, McCarthy takes readers through the ups and downs of an antic, grueling season filled with cross-country road trips, bizarre rivalries, and players competing with cutthroat intensity for the ultimate prize-a call up to the majors.

In the spirit of Ball Four, McCarthy recounts inside-the-locker-room tales of teammates who would go on to stardom, including Bobby Jenks, Joe Saunders, and Ervin Santana. Odd Man Out is one of the great books about baseball life, capturing with rare perfection the gritty essence of our national pastime as it is played outside the spotlight.

Customer Reviews:

  • Great minor league baseball narrative
    A great book for any baseball fan or any parent out there who has a child dreaming of one day playing ball in the majors. McCarthy's minor league experiences are probably much like those of thousands of other guys who never reached their ultimate goal. But his ability as a storyteller makes them very noteworthy. The book is funny, candid and self-deprecating. And knowing throughout it that the author had a great future outside of the game made it much easier to read about his struggles....more info
  • Great read, even better since I'm an Angels fan
    A great portrayal of the day to day life of a minor league player. I found it even more interesting because I'm an Angels fan and recognize many of the player and coaches being written about. It would still be entertaining for any baseball fan though....more info
  • A Great Look Behind The Curtain
    There are around 500 players on big league clubs at any point in time. Yet each year around 1500 new players are drafted, and hundreds of others are signed as free agents.

    With so little room at the top, and so many coming in the door, where the heck do all these new players end up? Well, you're gonna find out in Odd Man Out.

    While each new pro player has dreams of making the big leagues, the brutal truth is that most are there to create a game for the very best - those designated as "prospects."

    And pretty soon they realize that in spite of having been the best that ever played in their little leagues and high schools, they are nowhere near up to the challenge. But they stick around, they keep trying, they keep hoping, hoping that maybe they will make a breakthru. And once in a blue moon there is an unlikely kid who climbs the big league ladder.

    But is almost all cases these kids are there as fodder for the prospects. And the execs looking on know that but just keep on selling the dream anyway.

    Odd Man Out lets you see this world thru the eyes of one very astute player who came to quickly see the handwriting on the wall. Yes, you'll live the bus rides, the talk of steroids, the flings with the girls in the wings...you'll live all that.

    But mostly your heart will swell for these kids that have left home as heroes and have to return home and start over at such a young age. ...more info
  • Excellent
    I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought that the author did a good job and it kept my interest throughout. I actually didn't want it to end. If you like baseball and ever wondered what it might be like playing in the minors you will like this book. My only complaint is I wish the author had told us about his goodbye to his host family in Provo. They were great people and I think he missed the boat on tying up that lose end for the readers....more info
  • Another Literary Fraud
    Turns out McCarthy isn't telling the truth. Check out the article below from the New York Times (March 3, 2009) for a litany of factual problems with the book. Among other things, McCarthy describes

    -a teammate talking about missing his wife and child, even though the child wasn't born until two months AFTER that teammate left the team for good;

    -another teammate on the team bus making fun of disabled kids, even though that player was promoted off the club days before

    -a third teammate getting punched in the groin by broadcaster Larry King's young son when King visited in early July, even though records show that player didn't join the team until July 30
    [...]...more info
  • Definitely Not Another "Ball Four"
    I purchased "Odd Man Out" in the hopes that the book would be a combination of two of my favorite baseball books, "A False Spring" by Pat Jordan and "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton. Unfortunately, this book was very underwhelming. While entertaining and interesting, I feel there was so much potential in this book that wasn't realized.

    I expected the book to revolve around the author's struggle to fit in the minor leagues and his own personal reflection as to why he ultimately did not succeed in advancing his career. Instead, I felt the author was very condescending towards his other teammates. He paints the picture of being an outcast from his other teammates because he graduated from Yale; however, he points out numerous times throughout the book that he has an Ivy League degree to fall back on if baseball doesn't work out. He does this after taking offense to his teammates brigning his Ivy League education up time and time again. I also felt that he also went out of his way to portray his fellow American players as racist, un-educated, immature individuals while continually showing sympathy towards the treatment of the Dominican players on the team. However, throughout the book, he never details any attempts on his own behalf to interact with the entire group or even any attempt to stick up for any of the Dominicans when given the opportunity.

    I expected a memoir that was much more reflective as to his own personal struggles as opposed to short-comings of his teammates.

    While I am critical of the author's account of his own personal experience, the stories he detailed were interesting. He was put into a unique position and his insight into the day-to-day life of a rookie in the minor leagues was very interesting....just not compelling....more info
  • A Nice Read
    A fun read on life in the minors. Not to deep but a good scan of a year. Was a fun read and I recommend it for all fans of baseball. Gives you a little insight into an average players life in the game....more info
  • A fast, fun read
    A really fine book about minor league baseball. Sometimes funny , sometimes touching, but always interesting, this is a must read for anyone interested in minor league baseball and life on the road. Several reviews have compared this book to Ball Four and A False Spring, and you could also add Jim Brosnan's two books (The Long Season and Pennant Race) to the mix. However this book is actually much closer to Rick Wolff's, What's A Nice Harvard Boy Like You Doing In The Bushes? and Dave Baldwin's, Snake Jazz. The latter is in my opinion is one of the best baseball books ever written. If you are a baseball fan, or just someone who wants a good book to read, do yourself a favor and get this book. ...more info
  • Old Man Out - Price
    Why does Amazon continually start with higher prices on "new" books.
    Where is the $9.99...more info
  • As close to Ball Four as you may ever get
    OK lets get over the fact this book is not ball four and that in all likelihood there will not be another baseball book as fun as Ball Four. That being said Odd Man Out is a very enjoyable book and does a great job of poking holes in the many misconceptions that exist about the "fantasy" in playing pro-sports. Matt McCarthy cuts no bones about the cut throat competition and the cruel nature of the game at this level.

    The greatest good he does is to show us the entire reality of minor league ball warts and all. One has to admire the dedication of his manager to the development of younger players and how the "Dominican" players have to over come so many different obstacles and how the "American" players are often so very similar but their youth and immaturity combined with a desire to reach a goal that many will never see leads to a basically unhealthy audience.

    All in all this is an exceptional baseball book and a very enjoyable and well written read. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the life of baseball! ...more info
  • BULL DURHAM: The Book
    Any favorable comparisons to Ron Shelton's classic movie "Bull Durham" to this book are ENTIRELY ACCURATE.
    Matt McCarthy's account of his year-plus long experience as a lefty in the Angels' minor league is a must have for any Angels fan (like me) & an absolute delight for any baseball fan looking to read something beyond steroids, Bud Selig/Don Fehr (2 sides of the same corrupt coin) & free agent greed.
    His Ivy League pedigree makes him an uneasy fit among most other baseball players & his teammates, but he does find a a way to get along. His observations are keen, illuminating (without being mean-spirited) and often hilarious. His education has already paid off. (I'll never forget Tom Kotchman.)
    It is not as deep as "The Boys Of Summer" or as impactful as "Game Of Shadows". It is a breezy read that packs a lot of fun. Mac has given us another reason why we still love the game and due to that reason alone he has pitched a near-perfect game with his pen (rather than from the pen).
    ...more info
  • UNIQUE perspective into life of minor league baseball
    Matt McCarthy, former minor leaguer for the California Angels, offers a fresh, interesting look into the not-so glamorous world of minor league baseball. It will hold your interest, make you laugh, and give you a new appreciation for the road most Major Leaguers have to take to make it to the Big Show. Baseball's, unlike NBA's draft picks, minor leauge prospects have a long, arduous road to travel in hopes of realizing their dreams, and the great majority never even reach the holy grail. This book feels like BULL DURHAM meets MTV's the REAL WORLD. So why do so many players give into the steroids temptation? WHy do so many players become class A jerks by the time their ticket to the Big Leagues arrives? Read this compelling new book and you will have some answers....more info
  • Too Much Money
    I would love to read this book, but $15? Why did I buy a Kindle only to be basically charged the same amount for the Kindle edition as a regular hard back.

    I will read and enjoy this book, when and if Amazon brings the price down to 9.99....more info
  • RICK "SHAQ" GOLDSTEIN SAYS: "IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?..SHADES OF "BALL-FOUR" & "BULL-DURHAM".
    The author Matt McCarthy is currently a medical intern in New York... prior to being an intern he attended Harvard Medical School... and before that... he attended Yale University... and majored in biophysics. He also was a "moderately" successful left-handed-pitcher... on Yale's unsuccessful varsity baseball team... and here is where... this always hysterical... always blatantly honest... truth... is stranger than fiction... baseball odyssey... originates. Matt... in the tradition of two irreverent baseball classics... "Ball Four"... and "Bull Durham"... takes you on an unfiltered... guided tour... inside the locker room... into the dugout... into the hotels... and onto the seventeen-hour bus rides... as he chases his childhood dream... of being a Major League baseball player. The author pulls no punches... starting with his Yale campus visit... seeking a college invitation... to his one-in-a-thousand chance at a New York Yankee prospect tryout... to his... crossing his fingers... during the 2002 Major League baseball draft... where he was selected in the twenty-first-round by the Anaheim Angels. Though there were an abundance of more talented amateur players available... the fact that he was a scarce commodity... i.e.: "a left-handed-pitcher"... he was given an opportunity... that otherwise... may not have been available.

    While players dream their entire life... about multi-million dollar signing bonuses... and many players... actually receive them... Matt signed for a ONE-THOUSAND-DOLLAR-BONUS. Part of the standard contract included Article XVI: "I WAS HENCEFORTH PROHIBITED FROM ENGAGING IN AUTOMOBILE OR MOTORCYCLE RACING, HANG GLIDING, FENCING, PARACHUTING, SKYDIVING, BOXING, WRESTLING, KARATE, JUDO, FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL, SKIING, HOCKEY, OR ANY OTHER SPORT "INVOLVING A SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF PERSONAL INJURY." Matt didn't care... he said: "IF IT SAID I WAS ALSO PROHIBITED FROM USING THE RESTROOM, I STILL WOULD'VE SIGNED IT."

    Starting with the Angel's rookie spring training camp... self-doubt regarding his talent... in comparison to... other high-priced rookie's... increased every day... and that reality... continued to grow... and be proven... achingly true... throughout the year-plus... humorous... and emotional... adventure... that the reader... is lucky enough to share with the "team". Being that there have never been too many successful professional ballplayers from Yale... Matt is constantly having barbs thrown at him... about his possible intelligence... and other Ivy League shortcomings. Depending on the circumstance... he a times admits he's a genius... at other times... he says I never went to class... I just played baseball. At the rookie camp... real-life... from outside of Yale's cloistered environment... rattle Matt's previously sheltered life... such as when... a rumor hit camp "that a pitcher from Double-A Little Rock who threw ONE-HUNDRED-MILES-PER-HOUR WAS BEING DEMOTED TO MESA FOR THREATENING TO KILL HIS COACH." The rumor was true... Bobby Jenks... who was raised in the backwoods of Idaho... and only played one year of high school ball... before dropping out... "at eighteen he'd been six-feet-three-inches... two-hundred-eighty pounds"... and threw one-hundred-miles-per-hour. (Jenks would wind up pitching in every game of the 2005 World Series... even getting the final out... as the Chicago White Sox won their first World Championship in EIGHTY-EIGHT-YEARS!)

    From training camp... Matt is assigned to the Provo Utah Angel minor league team... and the first thing he learns... is not to go into the showers... the same time as the Dominican players. Among the many lessons learned by young ballplayers... and the reader... is that the white and Dominican players totally separate themselves. What all the young men... learn quickly... regardless... of race... is that... the odds are very high... that they'll never make it to the big leagues. The absurdity of daily life in the minor leagues... is at times... side-splitting... such as the first time a young fan asked the author for his autograph:

    "WOULD YOU LIKE AN AUTOGRAPH?" "YES. YES SIR." "I WAS GRINNING FROM EAR TO EAR. IN MY FOUR YEARS AT YALE I HAD NEVER BEEN ASKED TO SIGN A THING... WHO SHOULD I MAKE IT OUT TO?... TO MY BEST FRIEND... YOUR BEST FRIEND? WHAT'S HIS NAME?...HIS NAME IS SPORTY... SPORTY?... THAT'S AN INTERESTING NAME... HE'S MY HAMSTER... I SMILED AND PRESSED THE PEN TO THE BALL. MY FIRST AUTOGRAPH... AND IT WAS TO A RODENT."

    Or when the Provo minor league team had "LARRY-KING-NIGHT"... the following conversation between the players took place: "WHO THE HELL IS LARRY KING?... NO IDEA....DON'T KNOW, DON'T CARE... HE'S A BOXING GUY-A PROMOTER OR SOMETHING. USE TO WORK WITH MIKE TYSON... OH YEA?... THE BLACK GUY WITH THE CRAZY HAIR?... YEAH... MY TEAMMATES WERE MORE THAN A LITTLE DISAPPOINTED WHEN LARRY KING'S TINY, WHITE SHRIVELED BODY CAME INTO THE DUGOUT A FEW MINUTES BEFORE GAME TIME... THAT'S LARRY KING?... I THOUGHT HE WAS BLACK.... THIS GUY LOOKS LIKE A LITTLE RAISIN... WHAT'S THIS GUY FAMOUS FOR ANYWAY? HE'S A TALK SHOW HOST... IS IT A SPORTS SHOW?... NO."

    This story will shower you in laughter... and also sadness... and even some tears... as young men's... hopes and dreams... are shattered... and Matt heads to New Haven after his first season... "to investigate the mechanisms by which neurons in the hippocampus were able to communicate with one another."
    ...more info
  • Almost there...and then start again!
    Matt McCarthy "almost" made it in baseball. His account of his year in professional baseball was informative and entertaining. As someone who has played baseball for nearly 40-years, but never came close to achieving what Matt achieved, I enjoyed reading about his journey. How many boys would love to grow up and at least get to the minors...and Matt did. His account of how some other players, and to some extent himself, washed out after playing baseball their whole life is heart rendering.

    Additionally, Matt mentions Quan Cosby several times in his book. Being a huge Longhorn fan and knowing a little about Quan's background, it is inspiring to know that each of them came up in totally different environments, yet each of them achieved "professional" status but never made the pinnacle of baseball. Now, they each have started new careers, Matt with medicine, and Quan with professional football after a stellar career at The University of Texas. They were both able to move on after baseball....more info

 

 
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