Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $26.95
  • Save: $5.96 (22%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available.
Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item.
Details
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by The Book Rush
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: 100% Money Back Guarantee. 2 day shipping available. Ships from Amazon. Pages are clean with no markings.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 7, 2013


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Deckle Edge
"Please retry"
$20.99
$7.65 $1.04
Best%20Books%20of%202014


Frequently Bought Together

Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere + The Bus Leagues Experience: Minor League Baseball Through The Eyes Of Those Who Live It + Bluegrass Baseball: A Year in the Minor League Life
Price for all three: $42.35

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307907546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307907547
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. --Alan Moores

Review

“Mann . . . creates instead a fresh rendering of the game that makes baseball seem vital and new. This is a story you haven’t heard before. . . . Mann’s baseball writing is a revelation. At age 24, in 2010, Mann is not much older than the players he’s covering, but his baseball acumen is high from having played the game in high school and college. . . . Having spent several months with the players, Mann gets behind their seeming incoherence to real thoughts and emotions. . . . His descriptions of locker-room antics and crudities are priceless. . . .  Mann is young, easily flustered and often star-struck, but he’s no fool. He is an astute observer and brutally honest when he wants to be.” —Seattle Times

“A Grand Slam . . . . Lucas writes about the Clinton fans and the players . . . with affection, passion and poignancy, in this deft portrayal of a slice of America. He knocks it out of the ballpark with ease.” —Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers

“Lucas Mann’s Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere is turning out to be the sleeper favorite in the new baseball book season.”  —Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf

“The reason that this is such an affecting baseball book, one that would be fast-tracked into the canon of gritty-yet-sensitive American sportswriting if such a thing still existed, is that, really, it’s barely about baseball at all. . . . Mann, currently in his 20s, is a warrior-poet from another age. . . . Seeing what he can do, I feel something like a bewildered scout, watching a not-quite-developed prospect get around on another fastball and send it into the empty parking lot, jotting down in my notebook, ‘Mann—who is this kid?’” —The Daily Beast

“Mann . . . combines hyper-detailed journalism with a lyrical flow of prose into a book debut that transcends all of the hackneyed clichés of sports writing. Mann imbues his chronicle with the tale of a town as removed from major-league prosperity as the players whose uniforms bear the burg’s name. Meantime, his beloved late brother hovers over Mann like Marley’s ghost, while memories of going to Yankee Stadium with his father rival anything Roger Angell has written on the same topic. Mann’s narrative is a tapestry of subplots composed of the kind of unsparing detail that manages somehow to be simultaneously inspiring, despairing and hopeful. Chronicling both life’s harshest realities and the stuff dreams are made of, Mann has created some kind of classic out of the smoke and mirrors of a moribund town and the visions of young men who don’t know it’s time to wake up.” 
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“This is a beautifully created and lyrical look at a year in the life of minor-league baseball team and the factory town in Iowa. The story of the 2010 Clinton LumberKings belongs on your sports bookshelf. It will remain on mine. NOTABLE”
—Harvey Frommer, Sportsology

Class A is a joyful book that captures the minor-league baseball spirit in a funny and poignant fashion. Yet this is far more than a baseball book. . . . Mann obviously understands and appreciates the game of baseball. He references great baseball literature for young readers, as well as the writings of John Updike and other classic works. Many are frightened of sports-themed nonfiction, but that should not deter anyone from delving into Class A. The real people of this wonderful book are more than sports figures, and learning about their lives is certainly a rewarding reading experience.”
—TeenReads.com

“Is there room for another book about America’s favorite pastime? Lucas Mann's Class A earns a position in a lineup that already includes Bang the Drum Slowly, The Natural, The Boys of Summer, Moneyball and The Art of Fielding because, remarkably, it offers a fresh, unexpected angle on this well-trodden game. Chances are you'll be hearing lots of cheers proclaiming Mann’s genre-bending book a Grand slam! and In a class by itself! . . . Mann offers a different sort of analysis, at once lyrical, intellectual and personal. His meditations on ‘a game that allows ample time for reflection and appreciation’ lift Class A above the fray of more ordinary baseball books. . . . Class A captures the longing, the uncertainty and the drive for recognition, both on and off the ball field.” 
—Heller McAlpin, NPR

“Mann wryly notes that the [baseball game] was watched by more people than will ever watch Mann do anything.  But he is being overly modest. For if there’s one surefire big-league prospect among the has-beens, might-bes, and never-will-bes who populate this memoir, it’s Mann himself who, in his first trip to the plate, knocks it out of the park. If Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding was the Field of Dreams of baseball books, replete with lyricism and Roger Angellesque poetry, then Class A could be considered literature’s answer to Bull Durham—raucous and scruffy, yet heartfelt and true.  Mann clearly knows his sports. His references to John Updike’s classic essay about Ted Williams and Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes, for example, are apt, and his trenchant, witty observations about the uneasy relationship between ballplayers and the denizens of the town where they play suggest the influences of both Joan Didion and David Foster Wallace. But it’s Mann’s knowledge of and affection for people that truly resonates. And what elevates Class A beyond being just an entertaining and poignant work of narrative nonfiction is the book’s most winning character—Mann himself. As a writer and observer, he is patient, sympathetic to a fault, optimistic in spite of himself, and, despite his gifts, impressively unassuming. . . . The fate of most writers may ultimately be not all that different from that of most ballplayers. Decades from now, the vast majority of the names currently seen on the spines of books will probably seem as unfamiliar as those found in a pack of random 2013 baseball cards. But I’d be willing to wager that Lucas Mann is one of the names that will endure.” 
—Adam Langer, The Boston Globe

“Yes, there are Friday night games under the lights in minor-league baseball, too. New York native Mann spent the 2010 season following the Clinton LumberKings. His sharp and entertaining observations cover not only the players, but the fans in the club’s small Iowa factory town who’s most prosperous days may be in the rearview mirror. The author even goes so far as to get himself into the costume of Louie the LumberKing for a game—for a mascot’s-eye view.” 
New York Post

“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.” 
Booklist

“In the tradition of football’s Friday Night Lights, a young writer spends a year (and more) following the fortunes of a baseball team: the Class A Clinton, Iowa, LumberKings.  In this impressive debut, University of Iowa writer-in-residence Mann has a busy agenda. He writes frequently about his own doubts, insecurities (he was not much older than his subjects) and failures (in sports, in barrooms). . . . The author provides . . . plenty of piquant moments of success, failure, consequence and inconsequence. . . . Mann’s style is easy, fluid, self-deprecating and always engaging.  A grand slam.” 
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“If you love baseball and care about men who struggle and yearn, you will love this gritty portrait of minor league players as they perform in a battered, polluted Iowa town that has suffered its own hope and disappointment. Lucas Mann writes with fluid introspection and disturbing honesty.”
—David Shipler, author of The Working Poor

“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. . . . 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 time comically dreams dashed, dreams deferred, and perhaps dreams yet to be realized.  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 popular culture, or just plain good nonfiction.” 
Library Journal (starred review)

“Lucas Mann’s startlingly good Class A revitalizes not just the small-town sports story but the genre of creative nonfiction itself. It’s the most original nonfiction debut I’ve read in years, much smarter than the usual ‘you-are-there’ narrative and far more vivid, witty, and emotionally rich than a book this self-aware has any right to be. Mann’s orchestration of character and moment—his insight into the nature of hope and delusion—is wonderful to behold.”
—Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family and Sweet Heaven When I Die
 
“Like a millennial Joan Didion or Gay Talese, just as talented, just as pure, Lucas Mann comes blazing out of nowhere and makes good on this book’s grand promise of ‘everywhere’: his beautiful losers, monkey-rodeo impresario, superstars-in-training, steely-eyed Venezuelan Caseys-at-the-Bat, and—perhaps most profoundly—his own winsome self, make this tour through the Mississippi Valley minors the most intensely contemporary and truly amusing nonfiction that I have read in quite some time.”
—John Beckman, author of The Winter Zoo
 
“Beautifully written. The best, most human, account of the minor league experience I've read.  Mann's story resides beyond the chilly statistics of the game, in a lush world draped with blood, sweat, fear and longing.  Where residents of a town in steep decline and a team replete with doomed prospects somehow manage to find that one product baseball manufactures more expertly than any other industry—hope.”
—Mitchell Nathanson, author of A People’s History of Baseball
 
“Lucas Mann’s debut is a beautiful, gripping account of his immersion in the world of a Class A minor league team, the LumberKings of Clinton, Iowa. This is a book about baseball, players-in-waiting, fans and community, but it is also a pitch perfect evocation of what the author calls ‘the middle of everywhere’–that place where so many people live and work, finding grace and meaning in often challenging circumstances. Put Class A on your bookshelf alongside Friday Night Lights.”
Honor Moore, author of The Bishop’s Daughter
 
Class A is unapologetically intimate—a deeply compassionate, blessedly unrelenting, and sometimes uncomfortably insightful portrait of a town and a team that might have too much invested in one another. Lucas Mann beautifully blends reportage and lyricism to create a story of vibrant consequence.”
—John D’Agata, author of About a Mountain

“The key to Lucas Mann’s superb Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere is that every life, properly understood, is compelling.  My college writing teacher told me that the only subject worth writing about is failure. Lucas Mann seems to know this to the bottom of his toes. His book is an impressively unblinking meditation on private and public failure.” 
—David Shields, author of Reality Hunger and Black Planet

“Beautifully written.  The best, most human, account of the minor league experience I’ve read.  Mann’s story resides beyond the chilly statistics of the game, in a lush world draped with blood, sweat, fear and longing.  Where residents of a town in steep decline and a team replete with doomed prospects somehow manage to find that one product baseball manufactures more expertly than any other industry—hope.” 
—Mitchell Nathanson, author of A People’s History of Baseball

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Written in a very herky jerky style that is tough to follow.
Bill Curran
This gave some great insight into the lives of the players and the fans that attend minor league games.
Marsha Schultz
He just can't seem to get his mind around the fact that not everyone thinks like he does.
Jason Chamberlain

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jason Chamberlain VINE VOICE on April 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I had high hopes for this book. Based on the description I thought it might be something like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil meets Bull Durham. There were a few good chapters of human interest. I particularly liked the chapter when he hung out with manager John Tamargo for the evening. It was also fun to get to know Joyce the collector/hoarder a little bit. Unfortunately, there were no stories that drew even a chuckle because it is difficult to make a reader laugh when you take yourself too seriously.

The tone of this book is that of a young New Yorker who sounds like he is doing an anthropological study of Midwesterners the way an Englishman might have done with Native Americans in 1650. I just checked Google Street View and verified that, contrary to what Mann might have you believe, Clinton is not continuously covered in green soot from the factory. While some of the folks he met were certainly quirky, I don't think that they are as mysterious as he would have you believe. He just can't seem to get his mind around the fact that not everyone thinks like he does.

Some of the stories of the players were interesting, but there really was not as much about them as you might expect considering how much time he spent with them over the course of the season. I also would have liked more overall narrative, but the jumping ahead and back in time destroyed any coherence there might otherwise have been. I mentioned
...Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Seeking Disciple VINE VOICE on April 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The title of this book suggests that the book is going to be about life in the minor leagues. You know, the bus rides. The road trips in beat up motels. The fast food. The struggles of hitting streaks and losses. The dreams of making it to the major leagues. I wanted to learn about everyday life in the minor leagues. I wanted to hear the stories of players who signed with a MLB team for a million dollar bonus only to be placed in a lower Class A team where he barely makes $30,000 a year.

Yet this book is not really about that.

Yes baseball is there. This book is the story of players from the Clinton LumberKings. The book tells the stories of the team but it seemed what I wanted to read was not there. From time to time the author tells some of the baseball stories or even the games themselves but what I wanted to hear about from above was not there. Instead it is the story of Clinton, a small town in Iowa. The town of Clinton loves their team and the author himself is a true fan of the team. He even becomes the team's mascot. The book is stories about the players and their dream of playing in the pros but instead find themselves far from home and far from the pros in a small town in Iowa.

Overall it has some really good stories but I wanted more baseball and more about life in the minors. It is interesting to read the background stories of the players but I admit that I wanted more baseball. I would recommend this book for those who want to read why a person would devote themselves to a game, to a dream of playing the Majors.
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To baseball fans, there is only one meaning to the phrase "the dream", it is to make it to "the show" or the major leagues. Thousands of men pursue this dream, playing in organized baseball at many levels, from the near major league level of AAA in larger cities to the lower levels of A ball in smaller cities that few have heard of. This book is a yearlong chronicle of the Lumberkings, a lower class A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners organization in Clinton, Iowa. However, it is more than about the dreams of young men in sports, it is also a statement of the (d)evolution of a small city.
Clinton is like many cities of the Midwest, once economically vibrant with factories filled with union men doing their work. At that time, the factories were always hiring and once you received your high school diploma you could walk into the door and almost always be hired. In fact, in the last semester of high school, the conversation between seniors with no interest in college was often about what factory they were planning on working in.
After a strike and the destruction of a union, an entire section of Clinton turned into a ghost town with the abandoned homes slowly falling to the wrecking ball and a few people stubbornly refusing to leave homes that generations of their families and owned and occupied. A massive Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) grain processing plant now dominates that region, giving the entire area a distinctive smell. The EPA declared that the air quality in Clinton was very poor and many residents believed that the fumes from the plant were killing the plant life in the area.
The park where the Lumberkings play was built in the 1930's, so it lacks many of the features that the more modern parks have.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews