SEATTLE -- Lucas Mann was working on his Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing at the University of Iowa a few years ago and needed a thesis topic. He loves baseball. The Class A Clinton LumberKings were about an hour away. He started going to games. He logged a lot of miles on his car.
The stories Mann found there turned into his first book, Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere, which was published by Pantheon and released on May 7. In the book, he profiles players in the Mariners organization, including top prospect Nick Franklin and pitcher Erasmo Ramirez.
It isn't a book for seamheads, as Mann explained while visiting Safeco Field on Friday. It was more about a town, a sport and the remarkable bond between fans and players chasing their dreams in America.
"You know it's long-shot odds for Minor Leaguers, but when you're in the clubhouse with some of these guys that I got close to, no matter how talented they were and how hard they worked, it was this uphill battle," Mann said. "And these guys keep playing as hard as they can and with as much pride as they have in the context of just how impossible these odds are.
"It was weird to be around guys who are better at baseball than anybody I'd ever known but it still seemed like they had a really outside shot. It was like, 'Wow, this is hard.'"
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.