Class A Baseball in the middle of everywhere

Lucas Mann

Book - 2013

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Subjects
Published
New York : Pantheon Books c2013.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
318 p. ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780307907547
0307907546
Main Author
Lucas Mann (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Mann, writer-in-residence at the University of Iowa, spent the 2010 baseball season covering the Clinton (Iowa) LumberKings, a lower-level farm team of the Seattle Mariners. Mann could have fallen for the easy, Bull Durham–style clichés of the minor-league game—hard-bitten catcher teaching the ropes to brilliant but raw rookie pitcher; the baseball Annie with a heart of gold—but instead offers an affecting and authentic portrait of the hard times of most minor leaguers set in a shrinking town with hard times of its own. Mann focuses on two LumberKing players, infielder Nick Franklin and pitcher Erasmo Ramirez, with the most potential for catching on with the Big Club (Ramirez, in fact, appeared in 16 games last year with Seattle) and also on those bubble players whose latest bad swing or errant pitch could be their last and the fans who work even harder than the players to preserve the legacy of their beloved LumberKings. Then there's struggling Clinton itself, rendered in sympathetic but unsparing detail. A surprising book, in the best sense. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

This is a hard-hitting examination of minor league baseball and some of the major issues of life in small-town America, in this instance, Clinton, IA. At the hands of Iowan Mann (writer-in-residence, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City), we confront the town and its team, the Lumberkings. Clinton was once home to more millionaires per capita than any other place in America, but is now a dull image of its past; its Class A team in the Seattle Mariners organization is one of around 200 U.S. minor league teams. In this compelling book Mann seeks to humanize not only the players but also the fans who comprise the family of this small-town field of dreams. Overshadowing much of the story is the decline of Clinton, a once proud, mighty union town. At bottom, this work examines honestly, seriously, and at times comically dreams dashed, dreams deferred, and perhaps dreams yet to be realized. VERDICT Like a mixture of Bull Durham, American Gothic, a Coen brothers film, and a Springsteen song. Highly recommended for any serious lover of baseball, small-town America, contemporary American popular culture, or just plain good nonfiction.—SKS [Page 105]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

This is a hard-hitting examination of minor league baseball and some of the major issues of life in small-town America, in this instance, Clinton, IA. At the hands of Iowan Mann (writer-in-residence, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City), we confront the town and its team, the Lumberkings. Clinton was once home to more millionaires per capita than any other place in America, but is now a dull image of its past; its Class A team in the Seattle Mariners organization is one of around 200 U.S. minor league teams. In this compelling book Mann seeks to humanize not only the players but also the fans who comprise the family of this small-town field of dreams. Overshadowing much of the story is the decline of Clinton, a once proud, mighty union town. At bottom, this work examines honestly, seriously, and at times comically dreams dashed, dreams deferred, and perhaps dreams yet to be realized. VERDICT Like a mixture of Bull Durham, American Gothic, a Coen brothers film, and a Springsteen song. Highly recommended for any serious lover of baseball, small-town America, contemporary American popular culture, or just plain good nonfiction. —SKS (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Chronicles a remarkable year for Iowa's Clinton LumberKings minor-league baseball team through the experiences of its players and dedicated fans, profiling the challenges being faced by the team and its once-thriving lumber town.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Chronicles a remarkable year for Iowa's Clinton LumberKings minor-league baseball team through the experiences of its players and dedicated fans, profiling the challenges being faced by the team's once-thriving lumber town, its achievements in a Depression-era stadium and the contributions of its former major league backup catcher-turned-minor league manager.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

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.