Friday, May 1, 2009

Odd Man Out by Matt McCarthy - Book Review

Odd Man Out is a brief snapshot of life in the low baseball minor leagues. The story begins on a Yale pitching mound and ends a year later during cuts at Angels spring training.

During the twelve months of McCarthy's professional baseball career he calls our attention to steroids, race relations, and cultural relations in Mormon dominated Provo, UT. These are great issues to address and learn more about, but McCarthy does little than give us the tip of the iceberg.

McCarthy relates an encounter he had with teammates dealing with steroids, but never provided a follow-up. Even if he never spoke about it again with teammates, I would have liked to have known if he ever saw someone taking steroids, did he notice changes in their body or behavior, and did others whisper about it.

McCarthy describes a pitching session he had with a coach battling cancer, but he did little to follow-up on the health of the coach after McCarthy left the game.

Other examples of McCarthy scratching the surface, but refusing to dig deeper include: host family relations, race relations, and religion.

I liked the book, but I wanted more. It's a fast read and I definitely recommend it, but I was hoping for a bit more.


Anonymous said...

He said at the end of the chapter on the coach with cancer that the coach died a year later.

JRJ said...

Anon - And that's all we get? Is one line about the coach's death enough? The book has great subjects and good stories, but I still believe that it does little than scratch the surface of issues.

It seems like you read the book - what is your opinion of it?

Thanks for the reply.