by: Ryan McKenna
Hayhurst, a draft pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2003 Major League Baseball amateur draft, made his major-league debut in 2008 with the Padres. After bouncing around to a couple of different organizations, including the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays, Hayhurst was released by the Rays in August 2011.
The former MLB and career minor-league pitcher turned his attention at the start of 2012 towards a new career behind the microphone, in broadcasting.
“Unemployment,” says Hayhurst regarding his reasoning behind starting a broadcast career.
“I had an opportunity in Indy ball and in the Italian league and really, I just decided that I had my fill with the cynical part of baseball.”
After an audition with the Blue Jays and Rogers Sportsnet last year, Hayhurst was re-signed in 2013 to, as Hayhurst describes it, “be a utility man”. Hayhurst will do part-time radio colour commentary for Blue Jays broadcasts, write for Sportsnet.ca, and co-host Baseball Central and Baseball Central at Noon, among many other duties.
The transition to broadcasting, has a lot of similarities with pitching according to Hayhurst. He describes life behind the microphone as being just as stressful as pitching on a mound.
“When there’s a broadcast, you can say something and then explain it later and its okay and a lot of people are caught up in the heat of the moment,” says Hayhurst.
Jamie Campbell, host of Blue Jays Central, says that Hayhurst is great at explaining the game of baseball to viewers.
“What I like about him is that he’s incredibly eager to learn and more importantly he’s not afraid to be extremely critical of the ball club,” says Campbell.
One of the biggest challenges in broadcasting is finding chemistry with a partner says Hayhurst, who broadcasted games on Sportsnet’s radio network the FAN 590 during the Blue Jays 2013 spring training. Hayhurst says that there are a lot of reputations on the line in broadcasting, much the same as in baseball.
“I found that there can be big egos in this business, and there are guys who are really full of themselves and they want to do it their way because they’ve had success with it,” says Hayhurst. “Oddly enough it is just like that in baseball. If you have success in baseball then everything you do is justified. If you have success in broadcasting everything you do is justified.”
Adam Connolly, a frequent Sportsnet viewer and listener, says that Hayhurst is able to communicate the game of baseball by using his personality.
“Listening to Dirk Hayhurst call a baseball game is a blast,” says Connolly. “He’s knowledgeable and also brings a comedic edge that makes it that much more enjoyable to listen to him.”
“I’ve taken enough risks on dreams and I’ve wasted enough of my life in the minors, I don’t need to waste any more down there.”