Gil, Sometimes Gifts Comes with a Price by Darin Gibby – Book Promotion

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Baseball

Some gifts come with a price.

Twenty years before, high school coach Gil Gilbert gave up his dream to play professional baseball so he could marry his pregnant girlfriend, Keri. When he miraculously discovers that he can pitch with deadly accuracy and speed, he must choose between his successful career and comfortable family life or his chance to play with the Colorado Rockies during a player’s strike. Gil stuns the pitching staff with 100 mph fastballs and is offered a contract.

After joining the Rockies, the world soon learns that Gil is a supernatural phenomenon and the Rockies keep winning. But Gil soon faces stiff opposition, including a frivolous lawsuit, a father who feels his son’s calling to pitch is to save souls, and threats from the striking players. As the season progresses, Gil discovers that his unexpected gift is the result of a rare disease, and continuing to pitch may hasten his own death.  While Keri supports his decision to keep playing, she is fearful about her husband’s bizarre health condition.

Gil must decide what price he is willing to pay to live his dream.

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Book Excerpt:

GIL
HURLED THE baseball as hard as he could at the

backstop.
He needed to blow off steam and calm himself before
he
did something stupid, or regrettable. He picked up another ball
from
the fluorescent-orange five-gallon bucket, and concentrated
on
his form.
He
was consumed with frustration, and was venting with the
baseball
instead of with his fists or mouth. He tried concentrating
on
his form instead of his woes. Gil could control his pitches,
but
not his destiny. He was good, but not good enough. At age
forty-four,
Gil knew he was well past his prime and was trying
to
accept the inevitability of unfulfilled dreams.
He
reached again into the bucket beside him on the mound
and
grabbed another ball. Focusing his form, he hurled another,
and
then another. Arm back; elbow bent, he told himself. He
threw
once again, then he looked up, and saw his buddy and
assistant
coach, Peck, making his way over to him from a series
of
disjointed brown brick buildings, the campus of the Prairie
Ridge
High School Coyotes.
“First
strike I’ve seen you throw all night. What gives, Gil?”
Gil
kept his foot lodged against the rubber on the pitcher’s
mound
then stooped down and plucked up another baseball.
2 GIL
With
a quick windup, another of his pitches cut the thin Colorado
air
and hammered the fence.
“Okay,”
Peck interrupted, stepping between the mound and
home
plate. “That’s enough, Gil. We need to talk before you ruin
a
whole bucket of balls—and your arm. With these budget cuts
we’ll
be lucky if we get enough for the season.” He turned and
made
his way to the backstop, tugging on two balls lodged in the
wire
lattice. Peck yanked one out and ran his fingers across the
torn
leather.
“Holy
crap,” he muttered to himself, shaking his head.
Gil
flippantly tossed the ball back into the orange bucket.
“What’s
got you so pissed off?” Peck asked.
Gil
slid the back of his worn leather glove across his brow.
“I’ve
got my reasons.”
“Like?”
“All
my life I’ve worked so hard, tried to do the right thing,
and
look what it’s gotten me.”
Peck
lifted up his ball cap and smoothed back his brown
wavy
hair, letting his burly hand glide over his six-inch mullet.
“Are
you kidding me? You’ve got the hottest wife this side
of
the Mississippi, two of the most
well-mannered kids I’ve ever
met,
and you’re one of the most highly respected high school
coaches
in the state. And you’re still playing ball—and coaching
it.
Most guys your age gave it up long ago. What’s with the selfpity?”
“My
age, exactly,’’ Gil huffed. “What I’ve really got is some
loser
job that is going nowhere fast.”
“Shoot,
Gil. I’m your assistant. What does that make me? A
double
loser?’’
Peck
made his way to the mound, his tattooed arms folded,
like
a coach ready to talk some sense into his rattled starter, or
else
make a decision to yank him before the other team could do
any
more damage.
“How
so?”
“We
don’t need to go into this, not now.”
Peck
continued rolling the ball in his hands, digging his
fingernail
into the sliced leather. “Oh, I think we do. You know,
with
the strike, all the major league teams are looking for
replacement
players. You could try out for the Rockies.”
DARIN
GIBBY 3
Gil
grunted. “That’s not going to last. The owners will cave
before
the season starts and all those replacement players will
be
back on the streets. Besides, I gave up that dream—and I’m
too
old. All I’ve been doing is messing around in the rec leagues
for
years. I’d get creamed, even by replacement players.”
“Not
from what I’ve seen. You can still throw in the eighties,
and
you have a big breaking ball. I’ve seen it. No way, I bet you
were
just firing at least eighty-five,” said Peck, looking at one of
the
scarred balls he plucked from the fence. “That’s better than
most
minor leaguers.”
“You
never told me why you didn’t try to play professionally,”
Peck
continued. “You must have had one rocket of an arm when
you
were younger.”
“Unlike
you, I didn’t stand a chance,” Gil snapped back.
“That’s
not what I heard. And not with what I just watched
you
throw. What gives?”
“It’s
really complicated.”
“Try
me.”
Gil
hung his head and breathed out deeply.
“Well,
when I was playing for ASU, a lot of scouts were
looking
at me. I had to make a decision.”
“Like?”
“Being
a responsible adult and finishing my degree, or being
flighty
and chasing some harebrained idea that I was good
enough
to play professional baseball.”
“I
take it you were offered a contract?”
Gil
nodded.
“You
never told me that. So why didn’t you sign?”
“Some
things came up, and getting a degree seemed like a
better
choice than wasting my life away in the minors.”
“Easy
there. Remember who you’re talking to.”
“You
had a real chance, Peck—if you hadn’t had those elbow
problems.
Not so with me. Do you know how many twenty-yearolds
can
throw a ninety-mile-an-hour fastball?”
Peck
shrugged.
“A
whole bunch.” Gil adjusted his cap. “It’s water under the
bridge.
My life is in the history books. I made my bed and all
that
stuff. I’ve lived a very mediocre life. Four years of misery
to
get a physics degree. I was too much of a loser to even try to
4 GIL
get a
masters degree. I took a job as a lousy high school teacher
making
fifty thousand a year, coaching on the side. What kind of
loser
career is that?”
“Again,
Gil, consider your audience. At least you are the
head
coach. Look at me. I’d kill for your job.”
Gil
spit and covered up the spittle with a kick of his toe. “You
know
I didn’t mean that.”
“But
seriously. How can you say it is a loser job? With all
the
talk of your science fair this year—and another season in the
playoffs—you
could easily get teacher of the year. How many
people
can brag about that? And the kids here love you to death.
You
are the coolest teacher ever. How many high school students
beg
to have their science teacher play at their prom? You can
sing Sunday
Bloody Sunday
better than Bono.”
“When
I get to play him! The only gigs I get anymore are
overplayed
country songs about some guy finding religion. Have
I
ever written one of my own?”
Peck
shrugged. “I’ll bet you have.”
“Well
maybe, but you’ll never hear it on the radio. Just good
ol’
Gil. Friend to everyone, foe to no one. That’s all I am.”
“Well
tell me this, if teaching is such a loser job as you say,
then
why did you choose it?”
Gil
shook his head. “I don’t want to go there.”
Peck
hopped up beside his friend and shoved him back,
enough
to dislodge Gil’s foot from the rubber. “With the energy
you
were putting into that ball, I think we need to go there. Come
clean
with me. How long have we been together?”
Gil’s
jaw muscles clenched, and he slapped his glove against
his
thigh then looked up into the fading sky. “Alright, I’ll tell
you,
if you really want to know. I did the honorable thing and
married
her, then dumped any dream of playing pro ball. I took
a
teaching job to pay for the baby. Would you believe that I
met
her at a frat party? You know when you go to those dinner
parties
and everyone has to tell how they met? I couldn’t do it.
I
made up some story about how I picked her out of the crowd
when
we were playing UCLA.”
“Whoa,
wait a minute. Way too much information. I didn’t
mean
to pry like that.”
“She
was pregnant. My plans for baseball were over. And
DARIN
GIBBY 5
don’t
you ever mention it to anyone—my kids don’t know.”
Peck
reached out and put a hand on Gil’s broad shoulder.
“How
was that a bad thing? Look at what it got you.”
“Yeah,
a beautiful family that I can’t even support. Not
now—not
now that I am going to lose everything.”
“Gil,
what exactly are you talking about?”
“The
little turd is suing me, that’s what.”
“Are
you drinking, man?”
“Do I
ever drink? I am the clean-cut all-American parent.
Except
that now I am getting hauled into court.”
“For
what? Wait, for when Zach was screwing around after
practice
and thunked Shaila in the head?”
“Yes,
they’re suing the school and me personally. Two
million
bucks. Claiming the ball cracked her skull and caused
brain
damage.”
“If
you ask me, the ditz already had brain damage.”
“Yeah,
well tell that to a jury. They are going to wipe me out.”
“They
can ask for anything, you know that. Besides that, the
school
district is required to defend you.”
“That’s
what I thought, but it’s not that clear. What if they
don’t?
I can’t afford a lawyer. You know how much I make. What
am I
going to do?”
Peck
also spit and shook his head. “I see now.” Then he went
and
fished a catcher’s mitt from the equipment bag. “Okay, at
least
throw the rest at me so we don’t destroy any more balls. And
don’t
worry, they won’t fire you. Can you imagine the protests?
You’ve
had a winning season for fifteen straight years.”
Gil
went into a full windup and whipped the ball at his catcher,
each
pitch slamming into the glove with a loud smack. Peck bolted
up
and tossed down the mitt, shaking his stinging hand.
“Holy
crap! What is going on here? You taking some kind of
performance
cocktail? Your gut is gone, your chest looks like a
bulldog’s,
and you are solid as a rock.”
A
hint of a smile crept onto Gil’s weathered face. “Drugs?
Never
did them—not being the son of a preacher.”
“Then
what? You don’t just all of the sudden hurl like that.”
“Mid-life
crisis is all. Lots of stress builds the physique… and
I’ve
been working out some.”
“No,
man. What kind of drugs are you on? I’ve caught for a
6 GIL
lot
of pitchers, but nothing like this. You gotta be throwing in the
nineties,
pushing a hundred. I’ve got to get a speed gun on you,
Gil.
What is the record these days?”
“The
fastest pitch? Some say Bob Feller threw a one-hundredand-
seven-mile-an-hour
fastball, but who knows? Most of those
guys
were full of themselves. That was before radar, so it is all
speculation.”
“You
are the science guy. You should know.”
“Since
modern speed guns came around, there has been a few
clocked
at one hundred and four, and in 2010 Aroldis Chapmin
was
officially measured at one hundred and five. But it’s hard to
say.
Feller thought Satchel Paige was the fastest pitcher alive.
So,
could he throw faster than one hundred and seven?”
“What
were you in college?”
“Fastest
was ninety-one.”
“Then
that confirms it—you are all screwed up my friend.
A
forty-four-year-old man can’t throw like that, not without a
whole
lotta dope.”
“No
drugs, man. You’re just getting old. Bad eyesight and
soft
hands. Still getting those manicures?”
“Hey,
the last time was with you. Come on Gil. Let’s be
honest
here. This is crazy stuff. Those balls I pulled out of the
fence—the
leather was completely torn through. Let’s try one
more,
just as a sanity check. Let me have it. Get really pissed off.
Imagine
you are throwing at that lawyer’s face.”
Peck
backpedaled to the plate and pounded his fist into his
glove.
“Give me all you’ve got.”
This
time the ball whizzed into Peck’s glove with the same
familiar
smack. Peck removed his hand from the glove. The
palm
was red.
“I
think that confirms it,” he said, shaking his head.
“Tomorrow
I am going to make a few calls.”
About the Author

 

In addition to a thriving career as a novelist, author Darin Gibby is also
one of the country’s premiere patent attorneys and a partner at the prestigious firm of Kilpatrick Townsend (www.kilpatricktownsend.com).

With over twenty years of experience in obtaining patents on hundreds of inventions from the latest drug delivery systems to life-saving cardiac equipment, he has built IP portfolios for numerous Fortune 500 companies. In addition to securing patents, Gibby helps clients enforce and license their patents around the world, and he has monetized patents on a range of products.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree, he is highly regarded in Denver’s legal and business community as a patent strategist, business manager, and community leader. He is also a sought-after speaker on IP issues at businesses, colleges and technology forums, where he demonstrates the value of patents using simple lessons from working on products such as Crocs shoes, Izzo golf straps and Trek bicycles.

An avid traveler and accomplished triathlete, Darin also enjoys backcountry fly-fishing trips and skiing in the Rocky Mountains. He lives in Denver with his wife, Robin, and their four children.

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