In Maniac Magee, chapter 25, how does Jeffrey make Grayson feel special and important?

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Chapter 25 is not exactly a happy chapter in this book. Most of the chapter is taken up with Grayson telling Maniac Magee stories from his earlier days as a minor league pitcher. Some of the stories are sad, some are happy, and some are funny. The chapter ends on...

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a big downer because the final story that Grayson tells is how he pitched the worst game of his life in front of a scout and blew his chance at playing major league baseball. The question seems to indicate that it is looking for a specific thing that Maniac does to make Grayson feel better. I think that occurs early in the chapter. This is when Maniac begins probing Grayson for some details about his baseball career. When Grayson admits that he was a minor league pitcher, Maniac is in awe of Grayson and tells Grayson that he must have been a great pitcher to make it in the minors:

"You wanted to be a baseball player."

"That ain't no story."

"Well, did you become one!" Grayson drank half his orange juice. "Just the minors," he muttered.

Maniac yelped, "The minors!"

"Couldn't never make it to the majors." There was a frayed weariness in the old man's words, as though they had long since worn out.

"Grayson—the minors. Man, you must have been good."

Grayson probably is not used to this kind of flattery anymore, but Maniac's encouraging words are enough to warm Grayson up to tell more baseball stories.

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Grayson had been a lonely man for many years.  He was single and had no children.  When Jeffrey "Maniac" Magee came into his life, he suddenly had a family for the first time in decades.  Maniac made Grayson feel important and special by eagerly listening to the older man's stories.  Grayson had been a Minor League baseball player when he was in his 20s.  Grayson told Maniac a story about when he first arrived in a new town to join a new team.  A gas station attendant tricked him into thinking that he could order free food at a local restaurant because he was the new baseball player in town.  Grayson believed the man and ordered a large amount of food.  Then the restaurant owner came after him when he left without paying.  Grayson had to wash "dishes to work off a sixteen-ounce steak, half a broiled chicken, and two pieces of rhubarb pie."  Grayson announced that he had to get back to work, and "after a story like that, Maniac couldn't just stay behind."  He followed Grayson to work and helped him "raise a new fence around the children's petting farmyard."  While they worked, Grayson told Maniac his baseball stories.  Maniac began spending all day with Grayson.  He attentively hung on every story he told.

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