Class A, a year with the Clinton LumberKings

Baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, inspires artistic expression. A recent example is a very well-reviewed first book by a young writer who spent a year in Clinton, Iowa, home of the Mariners Class A affiliate, the Clinton LumberKings.

Cover Art from Class A

Cover Art from Class A

In Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere, author Lucas Mann digs into the gritty history of Clinton, home of agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland, and the people who remain in the once flourishing town and spend their summers together watching their beloved LumberKings. It is as much a meditation on the passing of Middle America as it is about baseball.

But, baseball is there. The LumberKings, and the roster of talented, upwardly mobile prospects, and marginal players barely hanging on, is the thread that holds the story together. Here’s how Heller McAlpin, who reviewed Class A for NPR, describes the book:

“Readers seeking extended play-by-play and assessments of skill would do better to look elsewhere. … Mann offers a different sort of analysis, at once lyrical, intellectual and personal. His meditations on “a game that allows time for reflection and appreciation” lift Class A above the fray of more ordinary baseball books.”

(Others who have praised Mann and the book include Boston Globe, Harpers, New York Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune.)

Mann is doing a reading from Class A on Saturday, May 25, at 4pm at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle (1521 10th Ave.).

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