P&P Reading Club: Megan Wells on The Art of Fielding Chapters 34-52

he art of fielding by chad harbachFind more of Megan Wells at Around the Horn from Aerys Sports.

Noted things:

  • Pella does everyone else’s half of a fight for them. Chef Spirodocus didn’t even know he was in a fight, and seemed pretty unfazed; but her father and Mike both seemed pretty unsatisfied by the arrangement.
  • The notable exception to this proclivity appears to be David.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever heard “The Waste Land” and the word “natch” uttered side-by-side before. It made me want to punch David in the face.
  • UMSCACs is one of those acronyms that causes an obsessive-compulsive hitch in the flow of my reading, because I’m not sure how to pronounce it in my head. The best I’ve got is Ummskaks, which sounds like some kind of Nordic animal.

Because I was covering it for Around the Horn, I was required to watch all of last night’s NLCS Game 2. As a lifelong Cubs fan, this was pretty painful to begin with; but it became merciless when the Cardinals offense wound up being a virtually unstoppable juggernaut.

Baseball was an art, but to excel at it you had to become a machine. It didn’t matter how beautifully you performed sometimes, what you did on your best day, how many spectacular plays you made. You weren’t a painter or a writer–you didn’t work in private and discard your mistakes, and it wasn’t just your masterpieces that counted. What mattered, as for any machine, was repeatability. Moments of inspiration were nothing compared to elimination of error.

Said juggernaut was, predictably, anchored by a four-extra-base-hit performance from Albert Pujols – nicknamed “the Machine.” At what point – or for which players – does the elimination of error become a thing of inspiration? Can a player turn becoming a machine back into an art?

1 Responses to “P&P Reading Club: Megan Wells on The Art of Fielding Chapters 34-52”


  • Is Pujols the baseball equivalent of Tim Duncan, in that the dependable mechanisms of their game often remove all doubt and, therefore, drama from the game? That idea leads me to wondering if the artistic human side of their games isn’t really realized then until they start breaking down, a la Henry’s throw to first, and what was always taken for granted isn’t there anymore.

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