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.”  

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.