MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers[UPDATE] Hayhurst has responded to this post. You can see his comments at the end.

Looking through some more excerpts from Dirk Hayhurst’s upcoming book about his time in the Rays organization, we get an interesting, if not very flattering look at Joe Maddon. We also are starting to get a sense that this book is not going to go over well at Tropicana Field.

In one excerpt, Hayhurst suggests that Maddon’s reputation as a baseball genius is overrated. Instead, Hayhurst pays Maddon a sort of back-handed compliment…

“Winning has a way of making people look smarter then they actually are. The meager budget of the Rays versus the massive budgets of their division rivals inflated Maddon’s success to near super human proportions. It was said he could skipper a team of little leaguers to an AL division title like some kind of managerial McGyver. It was said that he understood the game so well he felt it in a metaphysical baseball sense; baseball in relation to the ebb and flow of the universe or something. The truth, however, was that Joe Maddon was simply an excellent salesman.”

Hayhurst does compliment Maddon on his ability to squeeze more talent and effort out of players than most managers. But once he starts talking about how Maddon is revolutionizing the way the game is played, Hayhurst assures us that Maddon’s success is more about baseball’s failings than Maddon’s abilities…

“To many, Maddon was outside the box. But a lot of that had to do with the fact that “the box”, as it pertains to baseball, is an easy container to spill out of. Most of the techniques Joe used were used by managers in the business world and had been around for years. Managers talking with players one-on-one was only unique because so few managers did it. Baseball, so slow to change and adapt, has a way of making geniuses out of people who do things folks in the real world have been doing for ages. Managerial decisions based on big data? That’s not new. Neither are ice-breaker meetings, team building exercises, or fun group functions based around building team identity. Joe Maddon just dressed it all up in a baseball uniform and taught it how to speak the lexicon of a major league athlete. He was charismatic and a natural leader. He read people well and understood the games value system. But if he’s a genius, it’s only because he had the courage and foresight to breakaway from the draconian rules that have governed baseball’s social morays for decades.”

And then there is this odd excerpt which suggests Hayhurst just doesn’t like Maddon all that much…

“He had various artifacts scattered around the office, some baseball, some personal, including a ten-speed bike was parked against the wall. He’d been known to ride it into work, although I don’t know why he’d bother considering he drove a finely restored 1972 Chevy Malibu. I guess when you’re Joe Maddon, you do whatever the fuck you want.”

In other places, Hayhurst tells about how Maddon and Andrew Friedman told Hayhurst he was not to write about things saw go on in “here,” something Hayhurst clearly didn’t take well (” “Of course,” I said…What they didn’t learn, however, was that  I was retaining the right to change the terms and conditions of my joke at anytime, without notice.”).

This passage is important because it tells us that Hayhurst is not afraid to write about anything. It is also important because it tells the Rays that not only will he write about anything, he is going to write about them telling him not to write about anything. In other words, this passage is a big EFF YOU to the Rays.

Hayhurst also mentions that Maddon said he had not read Hayhurst’s first book leaving Hayhurst with the impression that Maddon had no intention of reading it despite saying “not yet.”

This last part is interesting because Hayhurst tells us that Maddon is the master of getting to know his players. And yet, if that were true, why would he not want to read a book written by one of his players? The implication is that Maddon loathes the idea of a player writing a book about what goes on behind the scenes. And if that is true, Hayhurst may have never stood a chance with the Rays. Or at the very least, that may be what Hayhurst believes.

Many Rays fans loved Hayhurst while he was in the organization. They loved the interactions with him around the diamond and in social media. But if this book continues at its current pace, a lot of that love is going to disappear very quickly.

—-

Comments from Dirk Hayhurst:

It’s rather tragic how you’ve projected so much anger into a balanced look at your namesake. I have no ill will towards the Rays…You’re off the mark here concerning those excerpts, but thank you for the publicity non the less.

Obviously there is a lot of this book that I have not read, so maybe it turns out to be a balanced project. But I am a fan of Hayhurst’s first book and have written many positive things about Hayhurst on this blog. And I entered these excerpts thinking it would be something similar.

I had no problem with the first excerpt about Farnsworth (which I wrote about earlier today). And honestly, I don’t care if Hayhurst likes Joe Maddon or not. People that have been around this blog for a while know I am not shy about criticizing the Rays’ skipper. But it cannot be denied that Hayhurst takes a couple of shots at Maddon.

Is Hayhurst’s take on Maddon and the Rays “hatred”? I have no idea, and it never really crossed my mind. Is it animosity? Is it resentment? Is it revenge? Or is it evenly balanced? We will have to wait and see. But so far, all I have is a few paragraphs on what Hayhurst has written about Maddon and there are at least two instances in which Hayhurst is basically telling us Maddon is overrated and unworthy of hero-worship. And I have no idea how else I am supposed to interpret a passage in which Hayhurst writes about a meeting in which he agreed to not write about stuff from the inside.

I may never be as good of a writer as Hayhurst. But at least I understand that it is the writer’s job to get the message across and it is not the reader’s fault if the the message isn’t received. If Hayhurst’s book is truly balanced, he needs to release better excerpts or do a better job of conveying that message. Because so far, that is not what I have read. In other words, Hayhurst is simply not an excellent salesman.

 
 

36 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    many rays fans have no idea who dick hayhurst is

  2. Nathan says:

    So Maddon is supposed to get to know EVERY player in the Rays organization. Hayhurst never pitched for the Rays. If he was up with the big club, then maybe Maddon reads his first book. This is probably too much press for a guy with 39 major league innings.

  3. Alex says:

    That’s nice. No one cares Hayhurst.

  4. KT says:

    This guys has a huge chip on his shoulder apparently. “Wait, you mean you didn’t read MY book?!”… No, because you’re not a good ball player and you’re not much of a writer either. Get over yourself Dork Hayworst.

  5. Ryan says:

    Looks like he is just angry because he didn’t get called up or something.

    + he doesn’t know joe madodn or any of the player more then any other say media person because the only time he spend with them is what “spring training” and i doubt they care much about some scrub

    • Sarah says:

      Indeed, and Cork is giving him a chance to extend his 15 minutes of semi-fame beyond its sell-by date.

      Here’s a so-so pitcher whose season was cut short by injury who is now trying to eke out a living by exploiting his brief brush with the big leagues. He never made it out of spring training, so how much insight into Maddon’s managerial abilities does the guy have?

      And honestly, he’s not that good a writer. His first book never seemed to get beyond detailed descriptions of bouts of food poisoning.

      Let me know when Fernando Perez write his book.

      • Greg says:

        Agree. And I think Cork was maybe one of the few who liked this guy. He wasn’t around long enough for me to even form an opinion. Although I’m starting to form one now…

  6. trevo says:

    Revelations about as profound as ones that could be made by a ten year old’s reading of The Extra 2%.

  7. Pete says:

    I think I recall that when they were giving Wade Davis an extension Maddon said something like: “He’s all business – he comes in and does his job” and that “you won’t find him writing a blog about his experience in baseball”. I remember at the time thinking the comment didn’t bode well for Dirk (who was trying to make the team at that time).

  8. Bill says:

    I read his first book and found it very funny in spots, touching in others, but falling just short of what it could have been. Then I started the second book and found nothing but bitterness and him never achieving in life what he thought he should have. Sounds like the third book is more bitterness about not achieving in baseball.

    I actually emailed him, giving some praise about the first book and thanking him for what he, but mostly his wife, had done with her organization. Didn’t receive as much as a form reply. That said it all for me.

    Must give him credit though. He has done well for a guy with mediocre talent and a poor attitude.

  9. Dave L says:

    I dont think it sounds that bad.

    I think we all knew there are some immature guys on the team and all real life baseball books tend to reveal some as juvenile in thier behavior, because well, some are frankly juvenile in their behavior. My first reaction is kind of ho-hum as it was with the SRod fist vs. locker episode

    It sounds like he tried to diminish Maddon but his examples given do just the opposite.

  10. Don says:

    Maddon’s “overrated” reputation puts his book in the credible catagory

  11. Bill says:

    Just downloaded and started reading. It is that bad. BUT, it’s no different than things he said about people in positions of authority in his first book. Since that was about the Padres organization, I barely noticed it then. But reading this brings it back. If you consider his relationship with his father, this willingness to stand up to authority trait makes sense. It’s what made him able to overcome that life challenge. He just never learned to calibrate it appropriately, and thus it might equally have limited his success in sorts – causing artificial ceilings. I think I will just have pity instead of hate.

    Meanwhile, have we signed Bourn, traded for Giancarlo AND signed a new stadium contract yet? (Sarcasm intended).

  12. Rick says:

    Thank you cork for posting this. You are totally right about understanding making an impression on readers, and Hayhurst’s impression so far is one I don’t like. I guess if his true goal is to rip the Rays, then he is conveying his message. Dude needs to get over himself. He was a mediocre at best pitcher who sounds bitter because he never received a promotion. Don’t think I will be reading this guy’s book now.

  13. Joe D. says:

    I read the first book, and like it and was looking forward to the day that he’d write about his time with the Rays.

    I don’t get the whole ” ‘F You’ to the Rays” from Hayhurst in the quotes that you provided Cork, I mean the Rays signed a guy that writes about his his MiLB baseball career for a living, did the Rays seriously expect him to not write about his experiences?

    As far as Maddon not being genius, is that really a surprise? We know that he’s a smart guy that knows baseball, leadership, business and stats… Good for him and the Rays for being able to make that stuff work at the MLB level, I don’t really think that it’s that relevating news to say that “Joe Maddon is really good at what he does and bringing old business ideas and team building exercises to baseball, but i wouldn’t call him a genius.”

    • Beth says:

      Of course Maddon’s not a genius. What bugs me about Hayhurst’s account is that he’s simply not in a position to offer any real insight into Maddon. All he’s got is snark, and a clear chip on his shoulder that Maddon didn’t fall all over himself to develop a close relationship with a guy who few thought had a prayer to make the majors.

      The Rays have invited 64 guys to spring training. Should Maddon spend the month of March reading their blogs and admiring their drawings?

  14. Professor Twain says:

    It’s not Hayhurst’s job to be fair and balanced and full of praise. He’s a writer who expresses his personal feelings and experiences. I give him credit for being willing to point out his own limitations as a player and a person. He’s letting us know what it’s like to be a marginal player, teetering on the edge of the minors and major leagues. Since most guys in the minors aren’t going to make it to MLB, it’s interesting to see this perspective presented. Usually we only hear from the superstars of the game, who write about their successes.

    I don’t think the section we’ve seen about Maddon is insulting. Maddon’s a busy guy with a big agenda. It’s not his job to drop everything he’s reading and jump into Hayhurst’s books. But it’s understandable that Garfoose gets his feelings hurt a bit. He’s pushing for the big leagues, as an author and a ballplayer, in these stories. I think his writing touches on universal experiences, or at least common experiences, of people who are struggling to make it in a competitive world.

    Hayhurst’s writing challenges the unwritten code that players should be positive in all their public statements and keep the behind the scenes stuff hidden. I’m sure it’s uncomfortable for his teammates and that it will tick them off to see some private moments revealed. But he’s giving us a view of baseball and his life that, for me, rounds out my understanding of the incredible struggle involved in being a professional baseball player, while trying to build a personal life.

  15. Amanda says:

    Hayhurst spelled MacGyver wrong, for what it’s worth.

    I think Maddon is a genius when it comes to the interpersonal relationships of a baseball team. I think some of his baseball moves are to be desired. However, I think the first part is far more important than the second part, and that’s where I differ from most of today’s mega stat geeks. It’s part of the reason why the BoSox collapsed down the stretch two years ago and the Rays came together and pulled through.

    • Don says:

      And all this coming from someone who corrects spelling?
      “I think Maddon is a genius” but can he spell Amanda? Does he have good “interpersonal relationships” or just personal relationships….just wondering?

      • Bill says:

        Amanda is not claiming to be a professional writer and charging money for her posts. Mipselinlgs and garmmar eorrrs are ok in olnine psots snice poelpe can siltl undretsand yuor maeining. But they shouldn’t happen in published works. More importantly I took her spelling point as snark similar to the many in Mr. hYahrust’s works.

      • Amanda says:

        Fairly, Don’s right. If I was going to crank on someone for their misspelling, I should have checked my own. I have been a professional writer, but I’m also dyslexic, so it’s hard for me to see my own mistakes without spell check. However, I don’t think the author’s writing is a misspelling … it think he didn’t do fact-checking. If you’re going to use a television show character in a book, you should probably check on how to spell it correctly. So if he didn’t check that fact, what else didn’t he check?

  16. Zack says:

    Just being honest, from the excerpts that I read from Dirk’s book, and from reading this article, you seem like a better writer than Hayhurst.

  17. LaneMeyer says:

    Maybe Dirk should have spent more time studying hitters and working on his pitches instead of writing. He might have less to be bitter about.

  18. Jennifer says:

    Laughable. Not Hayhurst, but this analysis of him. The guy may only have 39 MLB innings but he is highly respected in baseball (hence his being brought on as a broadcaster after retiring). A Rays fan who doesn’t know Hayhurst isn’t a big Rays fan, or a big baseball fan for that matter. That’s like saying you don’t know who Dan Johnson is.

    The guy is a rare breed of a modern day athlete- he is honest and articulately says what he feels. He never said an ill word of Maddon in any of this. Anyone with the literacy rate of a sixth grader would be able to deduce what Dirk was inferring: Maddon’s perceived genius is as much ‘genius’ as it is humility and approachability. Those remarks are as much a compliment of Maddon as anything I’ve read. It means Dirk perceives Joe as not only being a baseball guy (which by default is lucky at times because baseball is a game of strategy and luck) but that he also understands Joe to be a friend to all and almost part psychiatrist for his ability to inspire all walks of man.

    Also, as a businessmen and owner of three New York Times Bestsellers, Dirk isn’t giving an “Eff you” to Rays management! He’s showing his business acumen in reference to the Rays brass of Walstreet- if they don’t have him sign anything he is not contractually forbidden from writing about them. Think Friedman and Silverman didn’t realize that when they met with him? If it was really a concern they would’ve come prepared with a contract barring him from writing about the organization. My guess is they only hoped he’d hold off until he left, and that the Rays welcome the publicity as they have nothing to hide.

    Come on people, save the personal attacks. Dirk is a good dude who indulged every autograph request he was faced with, worked hard during his brief tenure with our organization, and clearly has a tremendous amount of respect for the Rays. Go Rays!

  19. Just Floating Through says:

    I don’t see how this is “ripping” the Rays or how it is really that negative. It seems to me like he’s ripping baseball, and not particularly Joe. I also don’t see any real bitterness. It just seems like he’s explaining that Maddon, while “He was charismatic and a natural leader. He read people well and understood the games value system” that it was merely baseball that made him a genius.
    Also, I don’t understand how they can tell him not to write about anything. Maybe while he’s with the team, sure. But not after. He is free to do about that. Of course he would want to write about what he saw. That’s the entire basis of the book. In other books, he never revealed any names that would embarrass or hurt the players’ reputation. Maybe I have a different viewpoint because I’m not a Rays fan. It seems like everyone around here is upset because it wasn’t a robust endorsement of Tampa awesomeness.

  20. Miguel Grande says:

    Jim Bouton shook up the baseball world with his book “Ball Four.”

    Joe Pepitone wrote an eye opener with, “Joe, You Could of Done Us Proud!” Which gave us a peak inside the Yankee Dynasty’s locker room.

    The revelation of Maddon’s ten speed in his office is almost too much for us to comprehend. If Joe can’t afford a modern bicycle and car, they need to tear up his contract and give him a raise.

    “This last part is interesting because Hayhurst tells us that Maddon is the master of getting to know his players.”

    “Hayhurst does compliment Maddon on his ability to squeeze more talent and effort out of players than most managers.”

    The book that really was an eye opener with me was Leo Durocher’s, “Nice Guys Finish Last.” Where he explained that every player and coach was different and had to be treated differently to get the maximum performance out of them. In this case, I’ll give Joe Maddon a golden star while giving Greg Schiano and his yearly “trimming of the weeds” an F minus.

    In the situation Merlot Joe is in, he just may be the perfect man for the job. In Boston or New York, he might fail miserably.

  21. ChrisStilwell says:

    Being British, a Rays fan, having read Dirk’s first book and having been on his site regularly I find the comments in the article quite remarkable!

    In articles on his site he has always been very complimentary about the Rays I dont recall a single harsh word and he has written about the rays his time with the bulls and about various team mates.

    I particularly recall he was on line posting live during game 162 against the Yankees he could not have been more pleased for his team mate Dan Johnson if he had been related to him! He wrote a very nice and insightful piece on Russ Canzler.

    Picking on one piece that doesnt conform to the ideal party line is a little unfair and unbalanced. I advise a much closer look before condeming a man who describes himself as “A Minor League Veteran” on the cover of his first book!

    • Norm C says:

      Yeah, I don’t get this thread at all. Nothing quoted by Cork supports his view that DH is biased against the Rays.

  22. Don says:

    Dan Johnson did more for this franchise than 99% of the players who ever played here, and the Rays wouldn’t even give him a look while every,washed up bum and no shot kid is in camp..That’s classless
    Maddon treats Every player the same, No rules, no demands..just lose man, He used to be on the bench right next to them for 25 years…
    what 20 yr.old kid wouldn’t like that?

    • Geoff Peterson says:

      Don conveniently forgets the year Pena left and Dan Johnson was given the 1st base job only to hit about .100 and lose it.

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