What a reviewer says

Posted on May 24, 2013


Running Out the Hurt paints a vivid picture of the colorful world of Latin American baseball. The story begins with a Cuban player, drafted by Yucatan in the Mexican professional league, who decides his younger brother has more natural talent and should take the opportunity in his place. Fifteen year old Alejandro Lopez posing as his older brother is not mature enough to play at the professional level and suffers “the hurt” of failure and bringing shame to his family. He runs away to hide in the small coastal town of San Arturo.
Like most small towns, San Arturo prizes its amateur baseball team, a collection of colorful players ranging from the catcher Sergio with some professional experience to Paco, the crafty old junk ball pitcher who could have taught Gaylord Perry a thing or two about doctoring baseballs, to El Jipi, the outfielder able to slug the odd home run and to an assortment of other players of varying ability. All work to support their families but live to play baseball.
Cipriano, the second baseman, recognizes the runaway boy’s athleticism, befriends him and coaxes him to come to a practice. Alejandro tries without success to hide his baseball talent and is soon drawn back into the game. The team adopts him as one of their family, finds work and lodging for him, immerses him in female admirers, introduces him to sex, even arranges a false Mexican identity for him. In return, Alejandro transforms the team from perennial losers to league contenders with both his outfield play and pitching. However, this is not one of those stories of an unsung hero coming out of nowhere to lead a team to glory. It is a realistic story with losses as well as wins, a story of amateurs with dreams of what might have been and the ability to nurture a boy with the talent to live their dream.
Stout cleverly keeps readers immersed in the Latino baseball culture with unique experiences such as post game parties, saucy if not risqué interplay between sexes, dialog structured as though translated from Spanish, and a liberal sprinkling of Spanish words in his prose. There is no need for a knowledge of Spanish to read the book. In fact, a sensitive soul is better off not translating the more commonly used words. Nor is a knowledge of baseball necessary to appreciate this story of human relationships and aspirations. It’s a well written, entertaining book.
Reviewed By Sandy Graham of Bookpleasures.com

Posted in: Fiction