It is a sad fact of my life that I only get truly excited about baseball season during the postseason, when it’s all about to be over. And what an exciting postseason this has been! In a lot of ways, I think baseball is the perfect sport for booklovers to follow, because the characters and the narratives* are just so darn good.
Baseball season is either going to be over tonight or tomorrow, and I’m bummed about it. Luckily, there’s a good book out now that will satisfy your baseball blues: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I’ve mentioned this book on the blog several times before (like here and here). But I want to give one more mention, because a couple weeks ago I got to talk to Harbach in person.
Yes, we are talking in a dimly lit hotel room. (We had less than 10 minutes to chat before he had to run off and sit on a panel at the Southern Festival of Books—and this was the only place we could meet!) Yes, I asked him if he’d rather win a World Series than a Pulitzer Prize. Check it out:
I didn’t have time to get into plot description during our conversation, but Henry Skrimshander is the main character—an incredible shortstop at a tiny liberal arts college who suddenly loses his ability to throw to first, and his future seems to crumble overnight. Mike Schwartz is the team captain and Henry’s best friend. He’s the one who encourages Henry to meet his full potential (i.e. getting up at the crack of dawn to run bleachers, etc.).
Readers: Did any baseball fans love The Art of Fielding? Any non-baseball fans have thoughts on why you don’t have to like sports to like this novel?
*Just look at the story of Albert Pujols, who was drafted in the 13th round in 1999, then went on to be one of the best sluggers in baseball. (As everyone who’s watching the World Series knows: three home runs in Game 3! Also: Will any other city love him as much as St. Louis? Why would he ever leave?!) Or the story of both teams’ pitching staffs. (I’m a Cards fan, but I think just about everyone was begging along with Derek Holland to let Ron Washington keep the young pitcher on the mound in Game 4, and wondered what the heck was going on in Tony LaRussa’s calls to the bullpen in Game 5.) Folks: You can’t make this stuff up.