Friday, November 23, 2012

the last book I ever read (The Art of Fielding, excerpt five)

from The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach:

“Do you know who Steve Blass is?” Sarah asked.

“Never heard of him,” Henry lied. Steve Blass was an all-star pitcher for the Pirates in the early ‘70s. In the spring of 1973 he suddenly, inexplicably, became unable to throw the ball over the plate. He struggled for two years to regain his control and then, defeated, retired.

“What about Mackey Sasser?”

“Never heard of him.” Sasser was a catcher for the Mets who’d developed a paralyzing fear of tossing the ball back to the pitcher. He would double-, triple-, quadruple-, quintuple-pump, unable to believe it was okay to let go. Opposing fans would loudly, gleefully count the number of pumps. Opposing players would run around the bases. Total humiliation. When it happened to Sasser, they said he had Steve Blass Disease.

“Steve Sax? Chuck Knoblauch? Mark Wohlers? Rick Ankiel?”

If Sarah X. Pessel hadn’t been a girl, Henry might have socked her in the face. Her middle name probably didn’t even start with X; she probably just liked the way it looked in her byline. “None of those guys were shortstops,” he said.

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