The Person

Tampa Bay Rays Photo Day

Born in Canton, Ohio in 1981, Dirk grew up in the small town of Canton South where he attended Canton South high school, home of the Wildcats.

Dirk holds a degree in communication studies from Kent State University, where he is also a member of the athletic hall of fame. He's also Kent State's 2nd all time innings pitched leader, 2nd all time strike out leader, and two time recipient of the coveted Steve Stone award for pitching excellence. He was MAC pitcher of the year his senior year, 2003, and a 3 time All Conference honoree. He was also honored with an Outstanding Student Athlete Role Model award in 2003, an award he tried to replicate in his professional career by winning the Community Player of the Year award when pitching for the Portland Beavers in 2008.

The Dirk of today is a polymath of sorts, trying his hand at all manner of things from baseball lessons to candle making. Websites, blogs, speaking, writing, radio, color, analyst, authoring, app building, Garfoose taming and baseball playing are only the tip of the iceberg. Dirk is a staunch believer that what you do does not define you, but you define it. In that sense, he dabbles in, and occasionally excels at, a variety of things, often garnering the reaction, "You're not the typical athlete, are you?"

Dirk and his wife, the beautiful and talented Bonnie Hayhurst

The Player

Player 200:300

Dirk was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 8th round of the 2003 amateur player draft. He signed as a senior in college at Kent State University, put his communication degree on hold, and set off to the fabled Northwest League to become a Eugene Emerald.

After 6 years of toiling in the minors, playing for the Eugene Emeralds, Fort Wayne Wizards, Lake Elsinore Storm, Mobile BayBears, San Antonio Missions, and Portland Beavers, Dirk emerged in the big leagues with San Diego to start against the San Fransico Giants on August, 23, 2008. His performance in that start was unremarkable, but the story between the two aforementioned dates is not.

Dirk started recording his minor league adventures in 2007 in the belief that if he didn’t make it to the big leagues, at least he could write down some of the life experiences he had while trying to get there. Maybe form them into a book? The result was the capturing of stories and experiences spanning the deserts of the Cal League, the snowy peaks of the Pacific Coast League, and the cold floor of his Grandmother's basement where he slept in the off-season. Dirk journaled beyond the baseball field itself, to the warn and traveled roads of the real, raw life of struggling players often overlooked. The result was a self discovery no string of stats could explain. However, if it’s simple career stats you’re interested in, you can find them here.

At the end of the 2008 campaign, Dirk was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays where he spent parts of the 2009 season in the Bigs. All the of the 2010 season was spent on the disabled list, rehabbing shoulder surgery. Healthy once again, Dirk came back for the 2011 season as a Tampa Bay Ray, and played for their Triple A affiliate, the world famous Durham Bulls. At the end of that season, however, with his shoulder barking and his elbow throbbing, Dirk tipped his hat to the game and all it had given him, and called it a career.

Dirk is presently retired and enjoys talking about the game from behind various microphones and cameras when not writing about it.

The Author

Durham Bulls 2011 Preview

Dirk started his literary career on the floor of his grandmother's basement. Since, he's written in minor league tour buses, flooded hotel rooms, red-eye twin-prop flights, small town bullpens, and even on the occasional big league jet.

Dirk’s work was first featured at baseballamerica.com, where he wrote The Non-Prospect Diaries (now The Bullpen Gospels, in connection with his book), a blog about the other side of the baseball dream. At the time Dirk had no idea he would someday become a big leaguer, and the column was Dirk’s way of keeping perspective in the midst of all the crazy things he encountered on the minor league trail. As it would happen, The Non-Prospect Diaries became so popular he was approached by several newspapers, including that of his home town, The CantonRepository, where he began a column called The Bullpen Gospels. Only one year (and several thousand readers) later, Dirk was not only knocking on the door of the big leagues but in discussions to write a book as well.

Dirk’s first book, The Bullpen Gospels, came out on March 30, 2010 and was met with a surge of acclaim from all manner of key figures, such as Keith Olbermann, Bob Costas, Jayson Stark, Tim McCarver, Tom Verducci, and several esteemed print sources like, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, The Boston Globe, and the list goes on. Out Of My League, the sequel to The Bullpen Gospels, about Dirk's 40 days and nights as a rookie in the Big leagues, was also a best seller and has earned Dirk the title of "best author to wear baseball uniform" according the New York Times. DIrk wrote a follow up to Out Of My League via an Ebook companion titled Wild Pitches. Dirks 3rd book in the Bullpen trilogy is due March 2014 and is called Bigger Than The Game.

You can read more reviews about Dirk's book on the Book's page.

The Broadcaster

The Broadcaster

In 2012, Dirk started his third professional career as a professional broadcaster and baseball analyst for Rogers and the Toronto Blue Jays. Dirk presently is the co-host of Baseball Central  on Toronto's flagship sports radio station, SportsNet The Fan 590, featuring a focus on the Toronto Blue Jays and baseball all around the MLB. Dirk was also panelist on Blue Jays Connected, as seen on all SportsNet television stations around Canada, along side Jamie Campbell and Gregg Zaun, as well as the part-time radio color man along side Jerry Howarth and Mike Wilner during Blue Jays broadcasts.

Before parting ways with Rogers and the Blue Jays, Dirk has became a contributor for ESPN with the Olbermann Show on ESPN 2, and a panelist on TBS's coverage of the MLB post season. Dirk is also a regular guest of various MLB related shows around the country.

Finally, Dirk is a professional speaker (a side effect of broadcasting), and you can contact him about being the guest speaker or MC of your event via his contact page.