Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Rob Barkus. I’m a manager at a local car dealership outside of my hometown of Indigo Valley. It’s a real dead-end job and I hate it. But when I clock out of there, that’s when the fun begins. I become a promoter for Elite Travel Baseball. Now that’s a job I love. I recruit teens from town, mostly school players, for my summer travel baseball teams where my sons play. All of my players are too good to be playing recreational baseball with the Babe Ruth League boys in town. It’s wasted time to be playing with them. If you want to get a college scholarship to play baseball at the next level, you need to be playing with the best players against the best players all the time.
What is your role in the story?
I want the town’s Babe Ruth baseball field for my teams. It’s the best baseball field in town and that’s where the best baseball players should be playing ball. It’s really beneath me to cut the grass on these second-rate school fields that I’m stuck with using during the summer. My aim is to get the Babe Ruth field from David Thompson, commissioner for Babe Ruth Baseball.
What is your favorite hobby?
I love writing nasty emails to people who stand in my way. I publicly send copies to all of my friends in town, including the school baseball coaches. I’ve turned email into a form of public humiliation. My people all back me up and say nothing about my tactics because they all know that I’m the godfather of baseball. They know better than to disrespect me.
What is the challenge you’re trying to overcome during the story?
I want to get the Babe Ruth ball field from David Thompson. I’ll go through his family to get to him. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have my people get rid of him.
If you could make one wish, what would it be?
I want my sons to get a D-1 scholarships to play college baseball to help me pay these sky high private college tuition bills.
Title: Saving Babe Ruth
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.
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Award-winning author Tom Swyers first had an audience on the edge of their seat (and the girls giggling) when his play, The Great Train Robbery, made its debut in the seventh grade.
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.
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