Study Guide

The Art of Fielding Drugs and Alcohol

By Chad Harbach

Drugs and Alcohol

Jose Canseco. Mark McGwire. Barry Bonds. A-Rod. With so many baseball players using steroids, we think it would be impossible to have a baseball book that doesn't involve someone juicing—and we don't mean liquefied kale. And yet, The Art of Fielding has nary a mention of steroids, maybe because this is college baseball and not the big leagues. That doesn't mean its players are all sober, though. Instead of pumping up before the game, they deal with pain after the game by medicating themselves with pills and booze. We're not sure which is worse.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. Do you think Mike's pain pill dependency is an addiction? Is it a problem? How does he overcome it?
  2. Mike also drinks: a lot. Does he have a drinking problem? Should someone step in to curb his alcohol consumption the way his doctor stops prescribing pain pills?
  3. Who enables Mike's different dependencies and why?
  4. Why does Henry steadfastly avoid drugs and alcohol? Does this help him or harm him? Would a drink loosen him up now and then?
  5. When Henry first moves in with Pella, he drinks a ton. Why? Does this become a habit?

Chew on This

Pella also has a tendency to turn to alcohol when things go wrong, so she and Mike have this trait in common.

People tend to drink or abuse drugs when under extreme pressure. With these characters being both on a sports team and in college, we're surprised more of them don't have a problem.