Class A

Class A

Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere

Book - 2013
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Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2013
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307907547
0307907546
Branch Call Number: 796.3576 MANN
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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