The Art of Fielding 41-50: Oh No

Never Forget. - Bob Levey

That shouldn't have happened.

Chapter 49. I actually threw the book to the floor. Which would've been fine if I had an actual paper copy, but I'm reading The Art of Fielding on a Kobo. When Henry picks up that grounder and starts shuffling over to first, I started reading through my fingers. When he walked over to the dugout, the book was already out of my fingers.

I may not be Grahamophone, but around people who know me I'm notorious for being a bit emotionally challenged. I have a tough time crying with people who need a cry, hugging people who need a hug, or otherwise giving people emotional responses rather than just telling them they ought to get over it. You can't just tell someone to get over it, you have to help them, and I don't always know how. Yesterday, when my sister was getting verklempt over my niece bawling her eyes out...I went into the other room. I don't understand emotions to the point of being an emotional coward.

That said, the squiggly black lines on white paper can create characters I have strong emotional ties with. I don't know anything about Henry besides that he likes the Cardinals and he's from one of the Dakotas. This is because Henry isn't real. He is a fictional character. But my heart went out to him, and my book went flying to the floor. Probably one of the more difficult passages I've ever read. Do you have a particular book or a particular passage in a book that devastated you in that way?

Related: what sports moment for you is emotionally devastating in a way that far outstrips its actual importance? For me it's the Carlos Fisher Game, where he threw 5+ innings out of the bullpen. The Phillies fans were hollering at him when he was too exhausted to throw strikes. I wanted to fly right to Philadelphia and shake them, give a real "Leave Britney Alone!" performance. How dare they berate a fringe roster guy giving his all in an early-season game, shortly after he was pressed into service in Cincinnati to such a degree that he was forced to fly to Indianapolis and rent a car to drive to town? That game killed me, I'm getting weepy thinking about it.TL;DR wrote one of my favorite RR articles about him once.

while looking for that Carlos Fisher article, I stumbled pretty far back into the aRRchives. BubbaFan's ST posts are only a couple months away...it's amazing that in ST 2012 Janish was still on the team and we had no idea who Chris Sale was. Charlie Scrabbles once led a piece with suggesting trading Votto for Matt Moore and Hellickson and -MBP countered with basically the Wil Myers-for-Shields deal but Joey Votto.

Anyways. To the book.

Chapter 42 has an interesting meditation on the point of college. Harbach seems to say that college as a place and an idea is where one gets comfortable before taking on the world. It's less important to graduate than it is to get some important life skills from age 18-21 or whatever. Agree? Disagree?

The entire David/Pella dinner is just fantastically written. David is such a helpless creep, with the overwrought nickname and the mansplaining. I notice that I have some of his tics with the whole "why are you being so emotional? I'm being calm" awfulness (see above), and I really only noticed the awfulness when reading through Pella's eyes.

In college I remember being at a Starbucks with an ex-girlfriend trying to convince her to give me another chance. Some dude at the table next was yelling at me for being a jerk, and I was. It's a strangely pleasing memory, having some stranger scream sense into me (whether that was his intention or not). You ever be in that sort of situation?

Chapter 44 has some awesome Carlos Castaneda-esque quotes in there from Henry. Castaneda is pretty good with words, but words won't save your life. I know I've mentioned him before, but reading this the summer after graduating high school made me who I am today:

"The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse."

I spent the next summer reading Marcus Aurelius in the deserts of southern Utah. Aggro-stoicism is the best.

Chapter 46's "an overfed shiny-cheeked guy in a beet-red golf shirt" may be my favorite character description in the book. And of course he wins.

Those sort of guys always win.

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