Rock Theory and Appreciation 103 - the Mitt

Is baseball The Game Of The People?  Gerry Tsutakawa's 'The Mitt' burns the idea down the pipe with a rather heavy, er, hand.  Fans are welcome to sit in it, lean on it, and generally do any damage they feel they can manage against a gigantic bronze sculpture that could, if it wished, topple over on them and wreak its vengeance.

Dr. D actually finds this sculpture to be annoying.  On several different levels.  But I'll give it this:  there can be no question as to the Mariners' sincerity about extending Safeco Field's reach to as diverse a group of people as it possibly can.  On that, er, score The Mitt is an, er, pitch-perfect capture of the Mariners' vision for Safeco as pivot point of the entire city.

What is Dr. D's quibble, you ask?  Thought you would.  For one thing, what's the hole in the middle?  According to Tsutakawa, it can be either a ball in the pocket, or a fastball that tore through the mitt.  This genre of pointedly ambiguous art is not to Dr. D's taste.  Who really was Right or Wrong when the nasties were booming us, Adolf Hitler or Winston Churchill?  Just depends on your perspective, don'cha know.  

How about our hobby, sabermetrics?  Neither are they in the spirit of this entire "Blake Beavan or Taijuan Walker?  Well, your preference just depends on your cultural bias" shtick.  Real things -- landing an airplane, taking out an appendix, selecting the right pitcher in March -- don't encourage the academic indulgence of "believe as thou wilt."


You could argue that the grossly small fingers point to the old-style mitts which looked better suited to taking a meat loaf out of the oven - hey, my dad had one of those, from the 1950's.  The leather was nearly black, the level of pocket padding was preposterous, and the mitt was cool.  But here, we add the concept of gaps between the fingers and now the entire monstrosity smacks of an effete, enfeebled version of "hardball."  Let's have a catch, sis.  Let's toss the ball but be sure not to throw it very hard.  I didn't bring my tricycle helmet.

The subconscious belief that the mitt is powerless creates a clash with the conscious, nodding acquaintance with the fact that Randy Johnson can throw a snowball through a garage door.  This speaks to an insincerity of the piece, in my view.

You could say that the fingers are impressionistic, abstracted.  Dr. D turns one thumb (ha!) down on the impression intended.


Plus the thing don' look good.


Finally:  are the Mariners really Seattle's team?  In Boston and Chicago, the baseball communities are more democratic.  Pressure from the people who are watching the game - that actually affects the people who are putting on the game.  The Mariners are ultimately controlled from Japan, and notoriously impervious to the clamoring of the populace for real live fights for the World Series.


... Like we sez earlier:  big points for the populist theme.  The art basically works.   ::shrug::  Like Brandon League saving games at 5 strikeouts per nine innings, it does what it's supposed to do.

My $0.01,

Art Critic Poser Jeff



OBF's picture

which is when people try to express themselves in a grandiose or forceful way on something they know nothing about. It is fairly obvious from this sculpture that Mr. Tsutakawa has never actually put on a glove or had a game of catch. His comments on what the hole means just reinforces that.
Just like as a computer nerd I wouldn't try to make a authoritative statement on weather prediction, or curing cancer, or law practices. It seems ridiculous and disingenuous to create a 9 foot tall piece of "art" which really has no connection to the subject matter at all. In most other lines of work there wouldn't be an opportunity or way to even make the statement, for some reason with art we let our artists comment on anything and everything regardless of knowledge ;)
One of the things that makes the truly great and lasting art what it is is the fact that the creator has extreme and intimate knowledge of the subject. The star spangled banner is one of the most recognised songs in the world (not just the US), and in fact most people even in other countries could tell you what the national anthem of the US is.  Quick what is France's or Germany's or Mexico's.  I actually asked a buddy from Mexico one time what Mexico's national anthem was and he couldn't tell me the name or even hum a few bars ;)  One of the reason the star spangled banner is so enduring is because the creator, and thus the words he wrote  was actually there, actually SAW the bombs bursting in air, and so it carries more weight and you can feel that when you hear the song or sing it yourslef.
Anyway thats my 2 cents, now I myself will be done commenting on something I know nothing about :)

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