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Stealing Home: A Father, a Son, and the Road to the Perfect Game

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"Five Stars. It’s so much more than a memoir. It’s a grand road trip story as well as a real-life family saga--and at its heart, a consummate baseball story. This well-written sports memoir is most highly recommended." — Jack Magnus, Reader's Favorite

The rarest outcome in sports is a perfect game in baseball. One team does everything right, forcing the other team to accomplish nothing. In 150 years of baseball, there have only been 23. Perfect is nearly impossible. As a divorced dad, Ron was trying to redeem his fatherhood with a baseball road trip with his Little League son Nicky. Their odyssey of nine games in eleven days, crossing eight states in a rented convertible, was supposed to salvage Ron’s life as an unsure father. One sign of salvation came unbidden in an unscheduled tenth game.

The adventures and revelations of the road led to a deeper reckoning of how Ron’s father had failed enough at fatherhood to take his own life. Thousands of miles and dozens of innings delivered a discovery: a drive toward perfect fatherhood has a destination that cannot be found on any map.

Seybold does a fantastic job of integrating experiences with his own father and their connections through baseball--very different scenarios than those he more mindfully cultivates with his son. It will especially appeal to male readers seeking enlightenment and ideas for their own approaches to fatherhood." - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

180 pages, Kindle Edition

Published August 1, 2019

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About the author

Ron Seybold

4 books3 followers
Ron Seybold is an editor and ex-sportswriter with baseball memories from before the designated hitter era, as well as World Series joy from both his NL and AL teams. He coaches authors, edits books, and released his debut novel Viral Times long before Instagram was everywhere. He writes and edits in Austin, where his wife teaches yoga, his grandchildren visit and play, and the family poodle Tess Harding insists on more walks than she gets.

He directs the Writer's Workshop in Austin, a resource for manuscript development, author instruction, and creativity groups. His novel Viral Times is a futuristic thriller about a pandemic that changes the way the world heals and loves. A two-time finalist in the Writers League of Texas manuscript contests for memoir and historical fiction, he's reported on the radio, acted in Austin melodramas and Shakespearian dramas, and launched a tech business publication with his wife Abby. He's a teaching volunteer at the Austin Bat Cave literacy program in schools and plays a part in helping authors from inspiration to publication.

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5 stars
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2 (8%)
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Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
July 24, 2020
Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje:
I read a lot of memoirs, and "Stealing Home" ranks up there with some of the best.
In telling his tale of his summer of redemption -- when he uses trips to baseball games as an avenue to reconnect with son Nicky while reconciling the turbulent relationship he had with his own problematic father -- Seybold manages to plumb a multiplicity of levels, all of them human and heartfelt.
He weaves a narrative the encompasses a universe of pain - his difficult divorce, his struggles with anger and bipolar disorder, his creeping fear that he's let his beloved child down. But he does it in a way that never loses touch with the hopeful thru-line -- that maybe, just maybe, the present can rescue and redeem the past, if a person has enough gumption to turn and face the truth. There are moments of levity, enough lyrical writing to make this wordsmith swoon and immersive details that put this non-baseball fan sitting in the stands with Ron and Nic, smelling the peanuts, hearing the crowds, feeling the air and praying that our two intrepid travelers can make it to their destination.
They do, in spades, but it's not just about catching that "perfect game." It's about finding and grabbing hold of that thing we all want -- to know that the ones we love love us back, and that the efforts we make to overcome our own legacies of pain and dysfunction mean they don't have to ripple down through the generations. That we can always make a fresh start, just as a freshly swept baseball diamond can usher in a brave and startling new season. With searing honesty, devastating self-awareness and a master's command of both language and his subject, Seybold has written a story for the ages, one that any imperfect parent -- which is to say, all of us -- will take to heart and hold for a long time.
1 review
June 18, 2019
No memoir has delighted me more than Ron Seybold’s new release, Stealing Home. One of my favorite lines is, “Limits were for dads who weren’t on epic road trips.”

And what a road trip it was! Ron and his little leaguer son, Nicky, take a road trip of a lifetime in a T-topped Pontiac Sunbird in the 90’s. A guys’ only journey to landmark baseball stadiums across the US, they see a record number of games in barely a handful of days.

We’re privy to Ron’s clever and intelligent prose; it’s relatable writing that wonderfully describes his transformation from worried guardian and nervous companion to confident father and capable man. Stealing Home explores Ron’s boundaries: the real and imagined, the physical and literal, some self-imposed and overly restrictive. How he overcomes them with grace and consideration is content every human with feelings should read.

He carries a heavy mental burden, his explosive anger, a trait passed on from his father. We learn through Ron’s self-discovery in this poignant snapshot, what the keys are to cope and grow stronger from our weaknesses, not to fear or wrestle with controlling them.

So many things can be taken from this tome: the highs and lows of parenting, that step-parents aren’t competition but teammates in the best interest of our kids, that we are our own individuals- not our parents, and that change- good change- is ours to receive if we are open.

I encourage anyone to pick up Stealing Home, no matter their age or stage. It warmed my heart and made my eyes teary (at least once or twice!) A great book and splendid use of your time, I know you’ll enjoy reading it as much I did.
Profile Image for Earnest Painter.
Author 1 book6 followers
January 4, 2020
Stealing Home is a story about a man, his son, a road trip, baseball and a historic game. The author is determined to have the most memorable vacation with his son. Ron Seybold is divorced, and sees his son on established weekends and vacation times. In spite of this, he is determined to be the father that he never had, rather than the angry father that raised him.

He faces the fact that, so far, he has been he has been just that—angry, anxious and unpleasant to be around. Without telling us in so many words, he shows us the decision he made to change, to become a father worth remembering, rather than one whose children struggle to forget. He plans an epic vacation with his son. Their strongest bonds are Simpsons quotes and baseball, so he begins there. In a pre-internet world he gathers maps, a baseball atlas, phone numbers and a credit card to put together hotels, seats at games, a convertible Pontiac Sunbird, and a plan to have a baseball road trip; nine games in eight different cities in five states.

The memoir uses the games as a framework, punctuated by memories of his own childhood, his son's earlier years, his first marriage, all of which has brought him to this trip this summer in 1994. It's a book about struggling with anxiety, about fatherhood and about baseball. It is intensely personal and resonates me on many levels. But, the brilliant thing is how many different people different aspects of the memoir will resonate with.

A veteran sports writer, Ron Seybold has written a small, powerful book that is so very readable I would recommend it to almost anybody. Take it for a spin.
Profile Image for Jennifer Berliner.
17 reviews1 follower
August 1, 2019
From the first page, I had so many questions that I wanted answered. All was revealed with page turning drama. There are many things I could relate to, like experiencing anxiety and perfectionism. Then there are life experiences, like being the survivor of suicide loss, that I could only imagine about and now after reading I have a better insight into the emotions behind this private, family tradegy.

Above all, I was surprised by the candid accountability that this father takes when reconciling his father's suicide, his own divorce and fatherhood. He recalls raw imagery from moments of his verbal aggression and its impact on his marriage and child, and at a time when "toxic masculinity" was still unnamed, but certainly existed. It takes bravery to account for one's past sins. He doesn't vilify his ex-wife and instead aims to improve his relationships. Through therapy and medication, the author gains insight, emotional regulation and healing--refusing to repeat and pass on the abusive behaviors he experienced growing up.

This book is satisfying for anyone who grew up in a harsh or abusive household and looking to heal. Whether you're the adult child that can no longer ask questions from the angry parent or you're a parent now trying to figure out how to parent without anxiety and aggression. You'll also enjoy the baseball adventure. It left me feeling hopeful and with the feeling that we can all do better, if we try.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Leesa Ross.
Author 1 book16 followers
May 30, 2019
I really loved this book about boys and dads

My three boys played on a Little League field just like the one that Ron’s son Nicky played on. But in truth, this book is so much more than a baseball story. It's about a father's redemption—a father-son story of magic, misguided perfection and anxious drama.

Ron was a divorced dad and used his summer visitation to take his 11 year-old son Nicky on a 14 day trip between Texas and his boyhood town of Ohio. Like the book says, he was hoping the trip would fix everything that was broken, including a bad relationship Ron had with his own father. The story was compelling because it told me about that, plus the trouble that led his dad to suicide. In the end, he tells how the perfect and not-so-perfect moments changed him in unexpected ways at unplanned times, showing a new way to be a father.

I recommend this book for its pitch-perfect sentimentality and tender heart. It was an easy read, something I finished in a couple of days. Dads and sons and baseball — a good game to watch on these pages.
1 review
May 31, 2019
If you aren't a baseball enthusiast, you will still connect on an emotional level as old as human kind. The story is really about unrelinquished love of a Father for his Son. The author works through his guilt of a failed marriage and remorse of an unfulfilling relationship he had with his own father and rises to a higher level to be the father figure that he wishes to become. An adventure across country with little else than a credit card and boundless love for his boy, the story moves at a good pace, always with the goal of arriving at the next game in a different city before the first pitch. As well planned out as this foray into fatherhood and baseball was, there were enough rough spots in the road to make the trip challenging, frustrating, and triumphiant all at the same time. A great read for anyone, if you enjoy baseball, that is the icing on the cake. The book includes an enormous amount of baseball lore and facts that any sports fan will love!
June 12, 2019
Playing the Game of Life, One Day at a Time

If you enjoy that most American of games, baseball, and you are a father or have one, Stealing Home should be in your summer reading lineup.

An honest look at what fatherhood is and can be: soppily sentimental, anxiety producing and heroic. Seybold uses his love of sports along with parenting advice from Homer Simpson in lieu of the model from his own, damaged, father to mold himself into the Dad he wants to be.

With a professional reporter’s skill, and the foresight to document the adventure, this memoir, of a short but significant month in his life rings true both factually and emotionally. I’m taking notes when he writes, “… to live is to play, to compete is to improve, to try out is to grow.”

Makes me wish I’d kept better records of some of the more challenging adventures with my kids.
It’s a quick, easy read that will stay with you long after you flip the back cover closed.
1 review
May 29, 2019
Loved this memoir of a father trying to connect with his son by planning a 2 week road trip to cover 9 baseball games across the mid-west. This divorced dad wanted desperately to be a better father to his son than his father was to him. The analogies Ron used between baseball, fatherhood and family were endless. They made me do some soul searching about what kind of a father I am to my kids. Having grown up in the mid-west during the era of this story it gave me flashbacks to music, cities, ball parks, family road trips, and fast food. Read it, you'll love it too.
1 review
July 14, 2019
Ron Seybold has hit a home run with his new book Stealing Home. In his heart-warming memoir, a weekend dad takes his eleven-year-old son on a two- week vacation in 1994. You’ll enjoy every page as you follow them through the Midwest stopping at all the major league ball parks along the way. It is trip neither will ever forget, and during their journey, Ron recalls his relationship with his own father and gains insight on how he wants his son to remember him. It is a book I loved reading, and couldn’t put down. A must read for every baseball fan. Nancy Warren, Colorado
Profile Image for S.A. Asthana.
Author 9 books12 followers
August 12, 2019
Stealing Home is a beautiful read. Ron Seybold knows how to write for the emotions - "On that opening day for his Little League team, Nicky threw a clean and clear strike to the glove of my heart." I couldn't put it down. This memoir of a father connecting with his son after divorce all the while facing demons from his past is a therapeutic treat. There are some significant lessons here for any parent. I highly recommend it even to those who aren't baseball fans.
Profile Image for Nicholas T Fredman.
1 review1 follower
August 14, 2019
Wonderful, Touching Read

Stealing home was a great look at vulnerability, fatherhood, forgiveness, and 90s culture.

If you’re up for a story about redemption on the road, and enjoy baseball/sports analogies, I can’t recommend this highly enough.

It frequently brought up tears, and smiles. While reading I was able to relive my youth! Great storytelling and a mix of past, present, and future keep the story grounded til the end.
1 review
January 15, 2020
I really really enjoyed this book. The way Ron takes you through his character's thoughts, actions, and what is happening around them makes you feel, made me feel, like I was right there. The description of how this father views and feels about parenting, about how his past influences his experiences and reactions to his son and the world around him is unbelievably poignant. It was like I was that character, as a father of 3. Just some great stuff, could read this all day! Well done Ron!
Profile Image for Marie Rivers.
1 review
June 12, 2019
Stealing home
This story emotionally draws you in as if you were one of the neighbors or friends of Ron. I cried before making it to page 50. The writer's transparency is therapeutic and reminds me of what life is like in an American red white and blue family. This entertaining fun “want to” read keeps you in the rear passenger seat straight thru to the credits.
33 reviews
June 29, 2019
Stealing Home is a book that’s raw and real, a true memoir written with nothing held back. I thoroughly enjoyed the honesty with which the author writes. I devoured every word and will savor reading it again. It’s a must read so I won’t give any details away. It’s a father-son-baseball love story written by a super fan and super dad.
September 11, 2019
A beautiful well paced journey that I did not want to end. The road to the perfect game became a tug-of-war on the heart strings, for me anyway. Amazing how much there is to be lost and found while trying to prove one's love. Ball parks, fast food, bonding over thick slices of pizza- Somehow I could see, smell and hear the people and the places of the past as if I were along for the ride!
Profile Image for Scott Semegran.
Author 21 books209 followers
May 12, 2019
Ron Seybold mines his memories of the prickly relationship with his father to excavate nuggets of wisdom for his own relationship with his son. Baseball is the shared language he uses to mend familial wounds from a divorce. Evocative and masterfully written, Stealing Home is a winner.
Profile Image for Rob Witherspoon.
Author 3 books29 followers
February 4, 2020
Superb writing, heart wrenching honesty. Every page stabs you with emotion. Read this book. It's a baseball, fatherhood, road trip. A wonderful, perfect ending story. Nice job, Ron.
Recommend Ron and the Writer's Workshop in Austin as a source for your editing needs, also. Ron knows his stuff.
12 reviews
August 20, 2019
Ron Seybold’s Stealing Home tells the story of one man’s attempt, sometimes obsessive but motivated always by love, to prove himself as a father to his son, his ex-wife, the world, even to his deceased father, but ultimately and most importantly to himself, by taking his eleven-year-old son on a two-week, nine game baseball journey in the year 1994.

There are a lot of things I could tell you about this book. Like how much I identify with the author—a love of baseball, growing up in the 50s and 60s, a father with anger management issues, a struggle with anxiety, a need to prove myself as a parent. Like how much fun it was to follow him and his son on that multi-thousand-mile road trip seeking baseball perfection under the guise of baseball bonding. Or how much I just flat enjoyed the writing as well as the story.

I could tell you about the tears I shed in the final chapters But mostly, I want to tell you that I can’t distinguish which aspect of this story contributed more to those tears—how the story echoed my own struggles with an angry dad; how much I have struggled with my own quality, or lack thereof, as a father; the joy of an extraordinary baseball journey; sharing in the author’s discovery of the importance of having a good “team” behind him; or the surprise ending that stirred all these things together into a potent but triumphant moment, not only in baseball history, but in the history of his own journey as a husband, a son, and a father.

Who should read this book? Are you a divorced parent with only visitation-rights access to your child or children, yet you strive to be the best parent you can be under the circumstances? Did mental health issues, including struggling with untreated anger management, anxiety, or depression, contribute to your divorce? Have you struggled, with the inevitable ups and downs, the fielding errors as well as the highlight-reel moments, to be the best parent you could be, and yet all the while knew not only that you could do better but that a game-losing lapse could happen at any moment if you take your eye off the ball? If so, you will enjoy this book.

Do you love baseball and have fond memories of trips to a major- or minor-league ballpark with one or both of your parents? Have you ever taken your son or daughter to a professional game? Did you grow up playing Little League baseball and was that an important part of your relationship with a parent or grandparent? Do you have a child that played or is now playing Little League baseball or softball? If so, you will enjoy this book.

Are you aware of how difficult the path to being a good parent is? Have you sought to avoid the mistakes of your own parents but learned in the process that maybe they did the best that they could, however imperfect that may have been? Do you enjoy a good, sometimes heart-wrenching but ultimately heart-lifting story? If so, you will most assuredly enjoy this book.
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews

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