Baseball is a sport. It’s also an art. And it’s a cultural institution. All this keeps fans hanging on each year for 162 regular season games, two rounds of playoffs, and a World Series. Giants fans know this all too well — they had to wait 52 years before winning a series in San Francisco. But baseball is also a game of stories. There’s the one about the charismatic, good-humored Casey Stengel, the legendary player and manager who was lured out of retirement to lead the newly created Mets. As predicted, the team performed atrociously, but Stengel’s “Stengelese” helped imbue the team with the “lovable loser” characterization that’s a strong part of the club’s lore. There’s also the story of a hitter and prolific base-stealer from Georgia named Jackie Robinson, who joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, becoming the first black professional player of the 20th century. These stories are among many reflected in “The Art of Baseball.” Darryl Shelton captures the famous 1954 World Series play in Willie Mays: A Catch Remembered. Chris Donnelly sculpts Oakland A Rickey Henderson (who wore No. 24, the same as Mays) holding up his record-breaking stolen base in Rickey’s Big Day. Babe Ruth looks melancholy and pensive in Eric Grbich’s sepia-tone mixed-media work that includes dripping spray paint. Fast-forward to the modern day in Jon Francis’ It’s Tim Time and look over the shoulder of a Giants fan watching pitcher Tim Lincecum’s windup through a smartphone. For those of you who knew nothing of the Giants — or baseball — before October 2010, here’s your chance to learn a lot of history through some major league artwork.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: March 24. Continues through April 28, 2012