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Saturday, December 19, 2009

REVIEW: 'Odd Man Out', by Matt McCarthy

This book is probably the funniest baseball book I have ever read! I usually read in bed before I turn the lights out, and I swear that at least three times while reading this book I had to get up out of bed because I was laughing so hard!

Matt McCarthy played college baseball for Yale University, not exactly a hotbed of MLB prospects. He was a half decent pitcher on a sorry excuse for a college baseball team. That he was a southpaw was the reason he was finally picked in the twenty-sixth round of the 2002 draft. He was offered a contract with the Los Angeles Angels and was assigned to play for the Provo (UT ) Angels.

McCarthy wrote down everything that happened in his year with Provo, not unlike Jim Bouton in ‘Ball Four.’ The manager of that team was Tom Kotchman, Casey’s father. McCarthy writes about life in the minor leagues- not AAA, which would probably have felt like an upgrade from coach to first class, but single A rookie league ball. We’re talking 18 hour bus rides in desert heat with no air conditioning. His teammates that year include Bobby Jenks, Joe Saunders, and Erick Aybar and he has great stories about all of them. He writes of his friendship with Craig Breslow, who also went to Yale and was in the Red Sox system in 2006 and 2007. Besides all the debauchery you would expect from a bunch of early 20-somethings, he gives us a very interesting look at life in the low minor leagues, including the culture shock that young Latino men endure living in a world that seems light years away from their native countries.

The LA Angels have their ‘Rally Monkey’, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what the corresponding rally mascot is for Provo.


FenwayWest.com 11.28.09

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