Today’s post is an excerpt from literary thriller / sports “Saving Babe Ruth”. Enjoy!
[David} thought to himself that the community baseball program had been neglected for years, long before he had arrived on the scene. The mess, he thought, was just too large for him or any one man to clean up and, certainly, he had done more than anyone else to fix it. It was beyond repair. It was a total loss. Perhaps, he thought, when the town baseball program was finally gone it might be missed, and people would finally do something about it. If not, then in the eyes of the community, the town baseball league wasn’t worth keeping, and its death sentence—no matter how much David disagreed with it—was its fate. He could not revive it for more than a fleeting moment if the community did not support it. Even if David stayed on the board defending the field, he could not stay forever. Heck, Annie was close to leaving him now and Christy was not going to be playing Babe Ruth baseball forever. People eventually get what they deserve in running a youth sports program, David thought. That was the natural evolution of things. And there was nothing he could do to change it. Without community support, the best he could hope for would be to delay the inevitable. David kept telling himself not to worry about things he couldn’t control, and this surely was one of those occasions. He tried to compose himself and did so for a while. But it didn’t last.
The thought of the program’s inevitable demise gnawed at his core. It did not taste right. Perhaps all his community needed was a little leadership, someone to point them in the right direction, someone to get the ball rolling for the next generation.
The townspeople did not have the inducement to do anything about the situation so long as the program still existed. Their cares were satisfied in that their boys were still playing baseball, at least for now. Like the landfill mound that embraced the baseball field, everything looked fine on the surface to them. And that was all that mattered. There was no immediate need to dwell about what was underneath.
David thought of Annie and the impact his removal would all have on her. He had assumed Annie would stand by his side even though she was growing tired of it all. And then there was Christy. David did not know what was going on at school as a result of his actions. Some days when Christy would come home, he would appear upset. But when questioned by David he would deny it and go and talk to Annie instead. David would hear whispers between the two of them. Annie would later tell David that something had happened at school but that Christy did not want to talk about it with David because he thought his father had enough baseball to worry about without dealing with his school problems.
Christy told Annie that he could handle the kids at school. Christy had grown a thick skin, like Johnny had asked David to do. But was it fair to Christy to have to live with the legacy of a father who is thrown off the baseball board? Surely that is what the Elite kids would say to Christy at school every day until high school graduation.
Then David began to think about his relationship with Christy, his son, going forward. He had seen older youth in the town drift away from their fathers after high school and he did not want this incident to come between him and Christy; he did not want to forever look at his son in his later years, knowing that he had failed; he did not want Christy looking away from him, acknowledging his failure. Let my failure be something else other than baseball, David thought, because baseball had at least been a bridge between the two of them, father and son, where so few opportunities for bonding existed.
He thought about Joan and Johnny and how they had sacrificed so much for the sport. He had made a commitment to Johnny. He would not be able to fulfill that commitment if he was thrown off the board.
The more David thought about the events, the more he realized that he had come too far to let things run their course without a fight. The more he thought about it, the more uneasy he became, until there was no calm to be had as anger pumped through his veins. He realized that he was about to be run out of town—his town—by a bunch of carpetbaggers. There was only one guy on his board, Avery Bransen, who had any roots in Indigo Valley. Neither the athletic director nor any of the school coaches had any roots in Indigo Valley. If David were kicked off, he would be the outsider forever more. It would no longer be his town; it would become their town.
That was a legacy he did not want to live with. If he was removed, every day he lived in that town would remind him of that failure. And that would be an unbearable existence as he planned to live the rest of his life in Indigo Valley. A shiver ran through him as he turned his attention back to the computer screen and his legal research.
David realized that he had set into motion a chain of events that could not be reversed. He had risked everything by taking a stand and there was no turning back.
About The Book
Author: Tom Swyers
Genre: Literary Fiction / Thriller / Sports
Based on a true story, Saving Babe Ruth is an award-winning novel about a family headed by David Thompson, a burned-out lawyer and Civil War buff. When he learns that the town’s youth baseball league is going to fold, David’s love for the sport and for his son, Christy, inspire him to try to save it for the boys in town. David puts his fading career on hold as he struggles to resurrect this dream while at the same time trying to salvage his marriage to his wife, Annie.
Though Christy and Annie want to see him save the league, David finds himself in way over his head; the more he passionately tries to save it, the more he ends up hurting Christy and Annie. It’s a catch-22 that leaves his family wounded and David lost, wedged between his desire to revive the league so he can live with himself, and the desire to heal his family so they can live with him.
When David starts to keep secrets from Annie to satisfy these desires, he weaves a web of deceit that further fractures the family. At the same time, the town wrestles to keep its own secrets under wraps while it almost bursts with people leading double lives. They want David and the league to fail, and they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want, even if they have to go through Christy and Annie to get it.
With the help of Johnny McFadden–a newfound friend who’s addicted to baseball–David concocts a plan to defend the league and his family. The pair will have to navigate through a maze of backroom politics, corruption, scandal and crime that extends to the professional sports world. David will have to call upon all of his legal and survival skills to try and turn things around.
Saving Babe Ruth is also the inspiring story about a baseball team full of teenage outcasts struggling to believe in themselves. When the time is right, they’ll face the prospect of having to fight crazy with crazy to save baseball for themselves, their town and beyond.
The novel reveals the underbelly of youth sports that’s hurting communities nationwide today, but readers and reviewers say you don’t have to be a fan of baseball or sports to enjoy the story. Its themes, including one of community responsibility, are beginning to resonate. The story is so powerful that one of the nation’s leading professional sports agents has threatened a lawsuit over the book. The novel has even caused one town to come to a standstill to hold an emergency board meeting over it. Watch this trailer video to learn more about how Saving Babe Ruth came to life.
New York Times bestselling author Margot Livesey says Swyers “has created a man for all seasons” in David Thompson and calls Saving Babe Ruth “an absorbing and compulsively readable novel.”
Saving Babe Ruth is the winner of a number of accolades including the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Book Award for “Best First Book: Fiction.”
If you like fast-paced and humor-laced stories, don’t miss this family’s fight to stay together as it confronts a youth sports underworld loaded with captivating characters.
After high school, he worked his way through some of the best colleges in the country. Employed in a variety of jobs ranging from a late-night convenience store clerk to a fine jewelry salesperson, Tom eventually graduated from college and then worked his way through law school in the caverns of Wall Street.
Since then, he’s studied at the New York State Summer Writer’s Institute at Skidmore College. He’s also a member of both the Authors Guild and the Hudson Valley Writers Guild.
Along the way, he married his high school sweetheart and raised a family. With that came baseball, but that’s another story (Saving Babe Ruth). Tom is also an award-winning youth sports advocate.
When he isn’t writing or reading, Tom is usually running (literally) away from trouble on the back roads of Upstate, New York where he lives with his family and two cats (really two dogs working undercover).
Saving Babe Ruth is his first novel and these are some of the awards it has received:
- Gold Winner, “Best First Book: Fiction,” 2015 Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Book Awards.
- Silver Winner, “Best Popular Fiction,” 2015 Independent Book Publisher Association’s Benjamin Franklin Book Awards.
- Reader Views, “Best Regional Fiction 2014/2015: Northeast.”
- Finalist, “Best New Fiction,” 2014 USA Best Book Awards.