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the art of fielding

Can a Man Who Does Yoga Write a Great Baseball Book?

Word literally comes over the transom that a writer named Chad Harbach has sold a book called The Art of Fielding to Little, Brown. It's a novel about a college baseball team and is said by industry insiders to be quite good.

Problem: If we're not mistaken, based on this little thumbnail picture on the Internet, we've seen Chad Harbach at our girlfriend's gym — doing yoga. Those italics aren't meant to denigrate the practice: We know it's very physically demanding, and our most yoga-dedicated friend is, of all the people we know, perhaps the one who could most easily kill us with his bare hands. But we also know some former college baseball players, who introduced us to the practice of force-feeding yourself beer using industrial painting equipment. Can a lithe, focused, spiritually balanced man like Chad Harbach truly take us inside the mind of an elite baseball player? Such is the challenge of every novelist who writes outside his or her own experience, we suppose. In any case, we hereby offer Mr. Harbach a slot as a one-game ringer on our company softball team, his performance — both on the field and in the dugout/beer cave — to be documented for The Sports Section.

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Photo: iStockphoto