As Odd Man Out works its way into the mainstream, I’ve found a few blog reviews here and there. Click on each site’s name below to read the reviews.
If you know of any other reviews in magazines, newspapers, or blogs, please post the link or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OC Weekly, an alternative weekly magazine here in Orange County, has posted a review of Odd Man Out. Click Here to read the review, written by reporter Matt Coker.
A warning — OC Weekly has no problem with publishing R-rated language, so if you’re sensitive to such things you may not want to read it. The review does excerpt some of the more explicit passages I’ve written about.
The New Haven Advocate has posted a review of Odd Man Out. Click Here to read the review.
New Haven is where McCarthy’s college baseball career played out at Yale.
Reviewer Craig Fehrman makes this interesting observation:
(“I lied” seems to be the most common phrase in Odd Man Out as McCarthy feigns everything from bad report cards to a love of Chris Rock.)
Given the mounting allegations that parts of the book are untrue, that observation should be given some weight.
Angels broadcaster and former major league infielder Rex Hudler has written a memoir called Splinters. You can read more about Rex and his book at www.rexhudler.com.
The Orange County Register has a review by columnist Jeff Miller. Unlike some recently published player memoirs, Hudler chose not to go the low road. Miller writes:
His recently released memoir “Splinters” isn’t a tell-all, only a tell-some, and all the tales center on Hudler, who, as a player, liked to describe himself as being “bootleg” and, as a writer, says his favorite author is Dr. Seuss.
Some people would prefer to read trash about successful players because they think it makes that player no more successful than they are. Personally, I’d rather read a book by someone whose positive attitude made him a success, rather than dwelling on others’ inadequacies.
BronxBanterBlog.com has an extensive interview with Matt McCarthy, author of Odd Man Out.
A couple Q&A’s of interest:
BB: Can you talk about the arrested development of the clubhouse culture. How do boys become men in that world?
MM: See: Kotchman, Tom. The Angels are very fortunate to have Kotchman. He could easily be a big league manager but instead he’s chosen to coach a rookie ball team. He’s able to influence players who’ve just signed very large (and very small) contracts and instill in them a culture of winning and for that the franchise owes him a large debt of gratitude. I don’t know if there are many guys like him still around, but I hope there are. That lucky charm of his — a large black ***** with two baseballs glued to the base — is something I’ll never forget. And the same is true of his Andrew Dice Clay impression. I’ve been out of baseball for six years and I still think about the Dice Man. He’s mentioned in recent interviews that he’s planning to retire from coaching sometime soon to become a full time scout. As I say in the book, I hope he reconsiders.
BB: Can you explain your relationship with your pitching coaches. How much input did they give you? How much were you left to figure things out on your own? And were players in your position in a much different spot than say a top prospect?
MM: Minor league pitching coaches have a difficult job. They’re working with players who have been very successful doing things their own way, and many are hesitant to make major changes to their mechanics. I had a funky delivery and wasn’t particularly interested in trying out new deliveries against the best hitters I had ever faced. But I was fortunate to have an excellent pitching coach, Kernan Ronan, who went to great lengths to explain his pitching philosophy and I think it’s why he was able to connect with so many of his players. He was also wise enough to append any suggestion with the disclaimer that “ultimately this is your career, and you have to decide what’s right for you.”
BB: You are out of the game now. Are you worried at all about the responses the book might get from some of the players?
MM: I’m in touch with a handful of guys from the organization and several have said they are disappointed that they’re not featured more prominently in the book. I’m sure others won’t feel that way.
BB: Who do you think might be upset?
MM: It’s no secret that I’m most critical of other pitchers in the book- particularly the left-handed pitchers. If a position player hit a home run, my first thought was, “Hey, good for him,” but if a left-handed pitcher struck out the side, my first thought was, “what does this mean for my career?” We used to joke about the half-hearted high-fives that guys competing for the same position would give each other.
USA Today has an interview with Matt McCarthy, author of Odd Man Out, the controversial book about the 2002 Provo Angels. Click Here to read the article.
Two Q&A’s from the article:
Are you anticipating getting a phone call from any of these guys who you call out in the book — from Tom Kotchman to Erick Aybar?
I don’t know how they’re going to respond to the book. I just don’t know. I look forward to seeing how they’re going to respond. But I haven’t heard anything.
Are you anxious about how some of the incidents you recount are going to be received? From the lurid incident with Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo with the hot dogs or Tom Kotchman’s replacement of the rally monkey with something a little more X-rated?
You know, I just wanted to provide an unvarnished account of what it was really like. This was going on. I don’t have an axe to grind. I loved my time playing with the Provo Angels and the Angels organization. I thought it was an interesting time in baseball where you had this infusion of talent from Latin America and these guys were struggling with their new lot in life, just as I was.
Matt McCarthy claimed that he met Bobby Jenks during the summer of 2002 at the Angels’ minor league complex in Mesa, Arizona.
Bobby Jenks told the Chicago Tribune that he never met Matt McCarthy, the author of Odd Man Out. According to the Tribune:
Closer Bobby Jenks dismissed comments about him during his stint in the Los Angeles Angels’ organization in a recent issue of Sports Illustrated.
“It’s just someone trying to make some money,” Jenks said.
In an excerpt of “Odd Man Out,” a book to be published later this year, minor league pitcher Matt McCarthy wrote of one instance where Jenks arrived 15 minutes late to practice and was sarcastically greeted by Angels minor league field coordinator Bruce Fields.
“Just trying to help the Angels win a World Series,” Jenks was quoted as saying.
Jenks said he never met McCarthy and that he was alerted of the book and the unflattering comments by Angels scout Tom Kotchman and his son Casey Kotchman, who now plays for the Atlanta Braves.
In the story, McCarthy alleged that Jenks told him that faking a back injury would get him out of weight lifting. The story adds that Jenks alleged that former teammate Derrick Turnbow was on steroids and that he was a bargain for the Angels after signing a $175,000 bonus.
Click Here to read my review, which was posted on January 30.
UPDATE February 16, 2009 — The Chicago Sun-Times weighs in with a more lengthy article about Jenks in the book.
“I got a chance to read most of it, even all the way through it, and without my name in there, you can tell this guy is making a lot of crap up,” Jenks said. “When I got the opportunity to come (to the Sox), it was a wake-up call. And the situation of how I was released (by the Angels), I’ve grown up a lot since I’ve had issues in the minor leagues. And I’ve become a better person, a better man, a better husband and father. That’s why it was kind of surprising at this time in my life, when everything is good, that something like this would happen.”