A Drive Into the Gap

A friend told me once, “I like to keep my money in my ’hood.” He was referencing his propensity to focus his dining-out experiences in about a mile radius of his house. This struck me as a pretty cool idea so I’ve started adopting it, even for non-food items.

I purchased this little short story down the street. It was bundled with three Field Notes notepads, a brand of note taking supplies conceived and marketed by Coudal Partners, a company based a couple of blocks away from me who’s also the publisher of the short.

I’m keeping my money in my ’hood baby. Plus, A Drive Into The Gap was written by a Notre Dame grad, Kevin Guilfoile, so I’m supporting my university (in some other form than football fandom, which makes me feel better about myself).

It’s a 70 page story about the author’s dad, a former MLB executive now suffering from Alzheimer’s, who has a commemorative bat in his home office that may have been used by Roberto Clemente for his last hit. The story weaves together Guilfoile’s childhood in Cooperstown, insider info from the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, and various hand-written memoirs that the author’s dad casually compiled throughout his life, almost as if he know he would eventually be unable to access them due to the debilitating disease.

Clemente seemed like a special guy. Guilfoile compares him to Barry Bonds, who Guilfoile describes as selfish and cruel. Remember, Guilfoile grew up in baseball and interned for the Pirates, so he has first-hand experience. He paints Clemente as the polar opposite.

Roberto decided to do the opposite. If you asked him for one thing, he gave you four. He worked hard to become one of the best who ever played the game, and then he gave away the trophies that proved it.

He gave as much as he could. He gave more than he could.

On the day of his biggest triumph he might have told three different friends he was giving them the same historic bat.

He never stopped giving.

He gave right up until the day that giving literally killed him. (pg. 66)

Heavy stuff. Clemente died in November of 1972 when a plane he chartered to run supplies to Nicaragua crashed. He finished with exactly 3,000 hits for his career, that’s why this bat and the moment are so special.

I love this indie-published stuff and I look forward to the next thing this imprint has to offer.