Class A

Class A

Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere

Book - 2013
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An unforgettable chronicle of a year of minor-league baseball in a small Iowa town that follows not only the travails of the players of the Clinton LumberKings but also the lives of their dedicated fans and of the town itself.
 
Award-winning essayist Lucas Mann delivers a powerful debut in his telling of the story of the 2010 season of the Clinton LumberKings. Along the Mississippi River, in a Depression-era stadium, young prospects from all over the world compete for a chance to move up through the baseball ranks to the major leagues. Their coaches, some of whom have spent nearly half a century in the game, watch from the dugout. In the bleachers, local fans call out from the same seats they've occupied year after year. And in the distance, smoke rises from the largest remaining factory in a town that once had more millionaires per capita than any other in America.
 
Mann turns his eye on the players, the coaches, the fans, the radio announcer, the town, and finally on himself, a young man raised on baseball, driven to know what still draws him to the stadium. His voice is as fresh and funny as it is poignant, illuminating both the small triumphs and the harsh realities of minor-league ball. Part sports story, part cultural exploration, part memoir, Class A is a moving and unique study of why we play, why we watch, and why we remember.

Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780307907547
0307907546
Branch Call Number: 796.35764 MAN
Characteristics: 318 p. ; 25 cm.

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Ellington4
Sep 10, 2013

This terrific book is about much more than baseball. For one, it is about chasing a dream-- and ultimately having to admit that you failed. In 2010 the 24-year-old author Lucas Mann, after completing his Master's program in writing at the University of Iowa, embedded himself with the Clinton Lumberjacks, the Mariners low Class A minor league team in Clinton, Iowa. For his research Mann was granted freedom to be in the clubhouse and on the field before games; he hob-nobbed with the players after games at bars and restaurants, and even occasionally slept overnight on the floor of their apartments; and he attended all the team's games from the stands, becoming close to a group of extremely loyal fans. There is little on-field action in this book. Mann, who writes like a fine novelist, is more concerned about what makes a minor leaguer tick, and why die-hard fans support the team, even though its personnel changes from year to year. Clinton is a city of 20,000 people, which was once a major lumber producer, with more millionaires per capita than any city in the United States, Since then its population has plummeted, its downtown has become virtually non-existent, and the most important thing in the city is a huge Archer Daniels Midland plant, which grinds corn into ethanol and plastic, while continuously spouting polluted smoke into the air. The Clinton roster in 2010 included Nick Franklin, the team's superstar slugger, who is now the Mariners second baseman, and Erasmo Romarez, the team's ace pitcher, who is now a Mariners starter. Later in the season the team's roster gained Tom Whilhemsen, who would become the Mariners closer, and Yeorvis Medina, currently the Mariners' set-up an in the bullpen. Along with writing in-depth about the players, the fans and the town, Mann also writes a lot about himself--a New Yorker and Yankee fan-- and the effect this experience had on his love of baseball and awareness of himself. His writing is compassionate, insightful and funny. With his debut book, Mann has hit a grand slam. The book is wonderful, and he is a writer to be watched.

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