Let’s change gears a little bit today and talk about a baseball book that came out earlier this year.
Class-A – Baseball In The Middle Of Everywhere is the first book by Lucas Mann, and it chronicles the day-to-day experiences of the author as he spent the 2010 season with the Seattle Mariners Low-A team in Clinton, Iowa.
Mann was granted near-total access by the Clinton team and manager John Tamargo. He was in the locker room, on the road with the team, and in the stands with the fans.
What makes this a unique book is that during the 2010 season, Mann was a 24-year-old academic at the University of Iowa. He was only a few years older than the players, and he was eventually accepted into their world.
It is his account of that world – the world of a group of 19-to-22 year-olds from all over the globe dropped into a small, economically failing midwestern town without friends, family or even cars – that makes the book.
Mann also spent a lot of time with the Clinton season ticketholders, the diehard fans who come to every game and have been doing so for years. Through this lens, he takes a depressing look at the city of Clinton and how its economy is dominated by one gigantic, smelly factory.
I read this book right after the Rainiers season ended, and I found it riveting. It is very different from your typical minor league baseball book. I think that the main reason it is different is that this isn’t just a book; this is literature. Mann is a talented young writer who can really turn a phrase.
Current Mariners Nick Franklin and Erasmo Ramirez both have prominent roles in the narrative – they were the stars of the team, and Munn correctly identified them as the top prospects on the club. I’m sure Nick and Erasmo would like to have some of the more personal passages deleted, but for us readers it is important to remember that they were both 19-years-old when that season started.*
- For more on Class-A, here’s a New York Times interview with the author.
- Speaking of books, the is a new biography on Ted Williams coming out. This excerpt from the Boston Globe focuses on… Ted’s frozen head.
- Lots of reports out there that the Mariners are going to sign ex-Rainiers infielder Willie Bloomquist to a two-year deal. Bloomquist’s role will be to back up Brad Miller and Nick Franklin/Dustin Ackley.
- Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln has begun the process of replacing outgoing team president Chuck Armstrong.
- All-star pitcher Lou Brissie is one of the most incredible stories in professional sports history. He passed away during the holidays – be amazed by his Times obituary.
Monday Night Football tonight – and of course it’s a big one with the Seahawks playing the Saints. The Rainiers are hosting a free viewing party in the Summit Club at Cheney Stadium – info is here, except this is a Special Monday Edition of Seahawks Sundays.
* I find the thought of somebody chronicling my actions when I was a 19-year-old to be absolutely terrifying. I suspect most of you older readers agree.