More interesting public art coming to Nationals Park

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Remember those statues of Frank Howard, Josh Gibson and Walter Johnson that were installed at Nationals Park last year?  The ones with the multiple limbs that were described as “having the unfortunate effect of making the players seem covered in tumorous growths.”  Yeah, there’s more of that sort of thing coming next season:

Thomas Sayre with Raleigh, N.C.-based Clearscapes, Inc. is designing 30 “stainless steel-domed forms which will accurately
follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast-ball
pitch,” said Sarah Massey, spokeswoman for the D.C. Commission on the
Arts and Humanities. They will be suspended by early next year from the
eastern garage. [note: here’s a concept photo]

In addition to that piece will be “four suspended mobiles with four dozen hand-painted baseball figures
rotating to a “freshly composed tune of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.'”

“Curving fast-ball pitch?” Moving right along . . .

My taste in art tends towards, I dunno, the less adventurous (my favorite artists is Edward Hopper), so I’m probably not the right person to judge.  I’d note, however, that most of the folks who go to ballgames don’t tend to go for stuff that, like someone quoted in this article says about the Nats’ new art “might not be a concept that the mind can wrap itself around now.”

Art shouldn’t always be easy to take. Indeed, there are good arguments that it should never be.  I just hope that those responsible for some of these kinds of things are cool with a lot of confused people who would rather find their way to the beer counter than ponder stainless steel-domed forms which
follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a “curving fast-ball pitch.”  

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.