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Book Review

‘Class A’ by Lucas Mann

Halfway through “Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere,” Lucas Mann’s memoir of the time he spent hanging around the Lumber-Kings, a Clinton, Iowa, team in the Seattle Mariners’ farm system, you start wondering if the author sees the obvious parallel his book is drawing between himself and the players he’s observing.

Mann, who is roughly the same age as most of the LumberKings, lurks in their clubhouse and helps out during batting practice; he boozes with coaches and managers; he chats up the PA and play-by-play announcers; he commiserates in the stands with longtime fans as they follow the lives of guys in their teens and 20s all desperately trying to get out of this once-prosperous lumber town and make it to the big leagues, yet knowing that few of them ever will. Meanwhile, here is Mann, a doughy and morose onetime Division III college ballplayer who is part of the creative writing program at the University of Iowa — in its own way, an elite farm team for writers aspiring to stardom.

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