It’s been a great week for literature

Forget Joe Torre. His tell-all isn’t even the most interesting one to come to light this week:

On the greatest day of his life, Matt McCarthy took a call from a Major League baseball scout named Byron, who told him he had been drafted to play baseball for the Angels.

“Now, you went to Yale,” Byron told him, “so I’m sure you’re a smart kid. But please don’t do anything stupid once you get out there. Don’t make me look bad.”

“Of course,” McCarthy told him.

At least, that’s the account in McCarthy’s book, “Odd Man Out.” It’s a tell-all of his year in the Angels’ farm system, from the racial divide in the clubhouse to the oversized sex toy players touched for good luck; from players making fun of handicapped kids to guys using steroids.

It comes out next month and it’s a book that, if we’re honest about it, makes Byron and the Angels look bad. “I’m sure there will be a defamation of character lawsuit filed by someone, as well there should be,” a former teammate, Heath Luther says.

One would think that in the nearly 40 years since Ball Four came out an iron-clad rule would have been instituted in baseball clubhouses everywhere holding that, if a player keeps a journal, he should be instantly put to death.

And, oh yeah, I’m reading that baby.

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  1. Bill said...

    Read post; went to; added “Odd Man Out” to wishlist; reported back. I turn the TV off when I hear “Joe Torre” and “book” mentioned together (makes going to bars and restaurants awkward), but I can’t wait for this one…

  2. Chris said...

    I don’t really get it – this isn’t that interesting.  If you were ever in a locker room, you saw all this every day, and it didn’t matter where that locker room was.  I teach well-to-do high school students, and I see these things every single day – the racism, the ridiculous sex references at any possible opportunity.  It’s very apparent that most pro athletes are outsized adolescents, so I guess I’m confused why any of this is all that noteworthy.

  3. Brian said...

    Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to suggest that, in the nearly 40 years since Ball Four came out, an iron-clad rule would have been instituted in baseball clubhouses everywhere that athletes who want to call themselves “professionals” should grow up?

    Why are we picking on the smart kid who kept a journal rather than the moronic twits who provided all the fodder for him to write about?

  4. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Who’s picking on him?  My call for his execution was me pretending to be the ballplayers he writes about.  I love this stuff and hope that there’s a scribe in every clubhouse across the land.

    As for growing up: well, it would be nice for ballclubs to be populated with charming and well mannered gentlemen, bt I don’t know that we can really expect that.  Jocks are jocks and have been the way they are since the advent of organized athletics.  I’m guessing a lot of what makes them so good at pounding the cover off of a baseball is tied up with the other stuff too.  Sure, I won’t invite these guys to my cocktail parties, but I’d hate to mess with their own personal brand of genius either.

  5. Chris said...

    I didn’t even intend my comment as a criticism of jocks – I am probably just as awed by their physical genius as you are – I’m simply saying that reading about their inner lives is generally uninteresting because, well, they aren’t very interesting people in general.  They like to get drunk, they are generally crude…. none of this is to fault them, it is simply to point out that once they leave the athletic arena, they tend to fall towards the much fatter part of the bell curve.

  6. smsetnor said...

    Can I order the Code Red?

    Hahahaha.  Awesome.

    Byron: What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong.
    MIke Soscia: Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for the people who couldn’t fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Matt McCarthy.

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