More interesting public art coming to Nationals Park

4 Comments

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.”  

Dan Straily suspended five games, Don Mattingly one for throwing at Buster Posey

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1 Comment

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins pitcher Dan Straily has been suspended five games and Don Mattingly one game for throwing intentionally at Giants catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday in San Francisco. Straily plans to appeal his suspension, so he will be allowed to take his normal turn through the rotation until that matter is settled.

Everything started on Monday, when the Marlins rallied in the ninth inning against closer Hunter Strickland. That included a game-tying single from Lewis Brinson, who pumped his fist and yelled in celebration. Strickland took exception, jawing at Brinson who was on third base when the right-hander was taken out of the game. Strickland went into the clubhouse and punched a door, breaking his hand.

The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a fastball, which prompted warnings for both teams. Mattingly came out to argue with the umpires about the fairness of issuing warnings right then and there. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly apparently said, “You’re next” to Posey, who was standing around home plate. The next inning, Straily hit Posey on the arm with a fastball, which led to immediate ejections for both him and Mattingly.

Neither Rodriguez nor Giants manager Bruce Bochy were reprimanded, which is ludicrous because it was plainly obvious Rodriguez was throwing at Brinson. But neither team had been issued warnings. Essentially, Major League Baseball is giving free reign for teams to get their revenge pitches in. Furthermore, Straily’s five-game suspension is hardly a deterrent for throwing at a hitter. The Marlins could simply give Straily an extra day of rest and it’s like he was never suspended at all.

Beanball wars are bad for baseball. It puts players at risk for obvious reasons. When players have to miss time due to avoidable injury, self-inflicted (in the case of Strickland) or not (if, for example, Posey had a hand or wrist broken from Straily’s pitch), the game suffers because it becomes an inferior product. That’s, of course, second behind the simple fact that throwing at a player is a tremendously childish way to handle a disagreement. When aimed intentionally at another human being, a baseball is a weapon. That’s especially true when it’s in the hands of someone who has been trained to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 MPH.

Commisioner Rob Manfred has spent a lot of time trying to make the game of baseball more appealing, such adding pitch clocks and limiting mound visits. He should spend some time addressing the throwing-at-batters problem.