Homer, the Marlins Park home run sculpture, will be in the ballpark on Opening Day, as a proposal to move the sculpture has been scrapped.
New Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter is not believed to be a fan of Homer, the colorful sculpture by Red Grooms that has been in the ballpark since its opening in 2012. While Jeter has yet to publicly confirm that he would like it to be removed, discussions about whether it will remain at Marlins Park have reportedly taken place, and he could have help from Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez in the effort to remove it from the ballpark.
One issue, however, is that Grooms has some say in whether the sculpture can be taken out of Marlins Park. The artist can disavow the sculpture if it is moved, effectively causing it to lose its value. Miami-Dade County, which owns Homer as part of its public art program, had drafted a plan to relocate it to Museum Park. However, County director of cultural affairs Michael Spring says that the plan is no longer in the works because of concerns that the move would not be backed by the city. The county will continue to explore options for moving Homer, but any move would likely not take place until the fall and there is not enough time to relocate Homer before Opening Day. Grooms, for his part, has said that the sculpture is specifically designed for the ballpark and is not built to withstand the elements. More from The Miami Herald:
Any move will have to wait at least until the fall. Spring said the window to get “Homer” out of the ballpark before Opening Day on March 29 has passed. That gives the Gimenez administration more time to find a spot for the sculpture and convince artist Red Grooms to endorse the move.
Spring said Grooms, a renowned pop artist out of New York, has the right to disavow the sculpture if it ever moves, rendering the mechanical tower close to worthless as a piece of art and forcing the county to write down a significant chunk of its $2.5 million value….
At Marlins Park, “Homer” is protected from “the heat, the rain, and corrosion from sea salt air,” Grooms wrote. It “is not structurally built to withstand hurricane force winds.”
Then there’s the issue of moving the sculpture from a secure ballpark to a city park. Grooms cited worries about vandalism or someone being injured by the sculpture’s whirring arms of fish and seagulls — features that come to life in Marlins Park whenever a Miami player hits a home run.
Jeter and Bruce Sherman are part of an ownership group that purchased the Marlins last fall for $1.2 billion.
Image courtesy Miami Marlins.
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