Art of Fielding 31-40: You Can't Follow Me Here

He's Not There (he's on first base already) - Andy Lyons

The book club is back. And maybe you've even read the book by now.

After taking a week off because I forgot my copy of The Art of Fielding, we're back with, well, The Art of Fielding. It seems as though Mr. Jacob Arthur was able to get copies of the book to those of you who asked, so hopefully y'all can catch up. If we need another week off to catch up after this one, please just let me know.

That said, this was probably the most interesting part of the book so far. Pella gets a bit more to her as a character, Henry gets a bit less of him as a character, and all the men of the book have their own careening flight patterns that we get to watch through our fingers. Great stuff.

I also recently saw 42 on a flight. With Arabic subtitles, nonetheless. It's a decent enough airline movie, if you haven't seen it; not great and sometimes pretty awkward, but a decent way to spend a couple of hours. Plus, Rachel Robinson is some kind of beauty. Christopher Meloni is shirtless a lot, oddly. And it's fun to see Harrison Ford do a Jack Nicholson impersonation, yeah?

Anyways, about the book:

1) "the production of brute efficiency out of natural genius." Is this a good thing? Is baseball good for making an idol out of efficiency? I get that the whole stats-craze is about finding new efficiencies, but I find myself sometimes not accepting or at least being skeptical of these beloved efficiencies. Sometimes it's fun to see wild genius as well. It's why we're so fascinated with dudes like Chapman and Hamilton, even if they may not be as valuable on an efficiency basis as LeCure or Heisey. What do you think about this?

2) I don't want to get too spoiler-y here, but I love Schwartz's totem. It's very Inception, he needs certain items to remind him of his own essential Schwartz-ness. What item do you have that does this for you? Not something that makes you better, but something that serves as a reminder in times of trouble of who you are and what your identity is.

3) I love the comparison that Harbach starts to make between Henry and Pella. But I'm nervous about giving too much away here. I just love the way he deals with these tormented genius types.

4) Speaking of the progress of genius and totems, the idea of baseball player as soloist: "You can't follow me here." I read this part and was instantly reminded of Joey Votto's beaten-up procession of batting gloves in high school. To turn genius into "brute efficiency" takes such a tremendous amount of sacrifice, and it is so much easier to simply not be genius. Is it worth it to dream big if it means tearing yourself away from human contact and understanding?

5) Pella's pride in the taxes taken out of her first paycheck made me smile. I wish I thought of it that way when I got my first paycheck, "here is the first time I am paying to provide for social services" and the like. What was your first "lo, and I have money" feeling?

6) "An idea that she wanted to have." What is your dream restaurant to own? Or elsewise, what is your dream that is so far in an alternative universe that you can only think about what it might be like to live in a universe where that could possibly be a dream?

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