The main character, Henry Skrimshander, is a college shortstop who's never made an error. It doesn't take Guert Affenlight to recognize that metaphor! (Guert Affenlight is another character.) I think fielding lends itself especially well to prose because so much of it is mental. Excerpts from "The Art of Fielding," a fictional book-within-the-book by fictional shortstop and philosopher Aparicio Rodriguez, were some of my favorite parts.
I guess my complaint with the college-y section is that it feels so constrained. The five main characters mostly interact with each other, and some of their relationships are more interesting than others. (As campus novels go, I prefer the underrated and much more expansive I Am Charlotte Simmons.) Still, Henry's quest for perfection remains compelling throughout the book.
Apparently a lot of references were lost on me because I've never read Moby Dick. I blame Herman Melville for writing Billy Budd and my high school English teacher for making me read Billy Budd and Billy Budd for stinking.