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New orb sculpture coming to Nationals Park

I guess this is old news, but it's new to me, and so you're being subjected to it: Nationals Park will get a third exhibit of public art early next year. It sounds sort of interesting. There are various descriptions of this installation whirling about; here are three.

ESPN the Magazine: The Park will unveil "30 stainless steel orbs illuminated by programmable LED lights showing the trajectory of a fastball in motion. Due to be on display in spring 2011, the installation is the latest addition to the Nats' already impressive artistic arsenal."

Washington Business Journal: "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."

The steel spheres with cutout 'laces,' each seven feet in diameter, will feature programmable LED lights for an 'iconic wow factor,' said Gloria Nauden, the commission's executive director.

'It's not just the fireworks at the stadium,' said Deirdre Ehlen, the commission's public art coordinator. 'It can be the lights too.'

A "curving fast-ball pitch?" Awesome. Washington Business Journal also reported that that installation will cost $951,200, making it Nats Park's most expensive work of art, not counting Strasburg's right arm.

Thomas Sayre: The sculptor's Web site says his challenge was "to intensify, and add delight to the entry experience from the north into the Washington Nationals baseball stadium; and to create art which can successfully connect the realms of 'entertainment' and 'art.' "

Here's more from Sayre, writing on his "Work in Progress" page, whence these concept images are taken, via Nationals Inquisition:

Inspired by the primary action of the game of baseball itself - the pitch followed by the hit - this public art project consists of a succession of polished stainless spheres derived from a spinning baseball which depicts physics of how a 90-mile per hour pitch is able to curve in such extraordinary ways. Eighteen stainless steel "baseballs" follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast ball pitch. The western garage fa├žade will show the more straight and higher-angled trajectory of the same ball as it is hit by the batter and is depicted with twelve "baseballs." The pitch comes at you from the left and sails off from you to the right as you enter.

Sure. Hope it did well in the Philly test demos.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 3, 2010; 1:29 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Still trying to hide the garages, eh? won't work. They're still there and they're still ugly.

Posted by: caryoreilly | August 3, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

maybe they should invest that money into re-signing Adam Dunn...

Posted by: TimDz | August 3, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Can the Nats also pay Thomas Sayre to trim the superfluous arms off the legend statues?

Posted by: Kev29 | August 3, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The statues at Nats park rock.

I'll reserve judgement on this till I see it finished, but anything blocking the garages is a good thing.

Posted by: cassander | August 3, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Nats park keeps getting better and better. Now it is time to make the team better and better.

Posted by: Dash10 | August 3, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

When are they going to put the revolving baseball on top of the Red Roof Inn, I mean Red Roof Bar, that was predominately shown in all their literature and promotional materials distributed when the park first opened?

Posted by: bbmcoachk | August 3, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

the approach from the north is ugly because they built the two ugliest parking garages in the world right where a big open plaza should be. lit up tin baseballs will not obscure this fact.

Posted by: DCPowerGator | August 3, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I hope this sculpture is better than the hideous figures of famed Senators inside the Park. To be remembered in such a garish way is disrespectful to the very few great baseball players who have played in Washington.

Posted by: bragdonb1 | August 3, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

hey tim - don't worry, the lerners are spending nothing on this. of course, that won't stop them from spending nothing on adam dunn either. they're good at spending nothing on things that pertain to the nationals.

oh, i forgot, they spent their own money once to buy bigger cherry trees for behind the OF fence than ones the city was going to plant. we should all just be thankful they now deem the structure suitable enough to make their contractual rent payment to the district, unlike year one.

meanwhile idiot season ticket holders like me get to pay NY level prices to watch KC quality baseball while they cash revenue sharing checks from uncle bud while playing in a stadium they didn't have to outlay one penny for (except the trees). of course, there are a LOT fewer idiot season ticket holders like me than there were two or three years ago.

Posted by: DCPowerGator | August 3, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Why don't they pay Criss Angel the $900,000 to make the the garages disappear?

While they're at it, I'd like to volunteer my service in taking a hacksaw to those ugly statues. They look like aliens!

Barring that, I'd like to donate to the fund to hang copper "FAIL" signs on each of them.

Posted by: noslok | August 3, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

They wouldn't need all this crap on the garage if they would have made them underground like they should have done in the first place. Way to go Lerner's.

Posted by: RiggoisDrunk | August 3, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Forget under ground car holds/ Should have put em in back of the stadium along the water front that never wound up being what they planed.

Posted by: alex35332 | August 3, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

When are they gonna put up Mt. Rushmore over the garage just beyond left field?

Posted by: richs91 | August 3, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Not sure where the statue-hate comes from. They don't look great in photos, but they're fantastic in person.

Posted by: cassander | August 4, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Maybe they could also have a, um, "happy-making" orb like the one in the movie Sleeper. Fans could pass it around when they needed a mood boost. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 5, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

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