Sportress of Blogitude

Marlins Park sculpture artist could block Derek Jeter’s bid to remove it

Miami Marlins CEO and co-owner Derek Jeter’s desire to remove the home-run sculpture that sits in the outfield of Marlins Park could be thwarted by Red Grooms, the artist who designed it.

According to a Miami Herald report, a Miami-Dade county official has indicated the artist who designed the $2.5 million sculpture has to effectively sign off on its removal per an agreement reached when public financing of Marlins Park was approved in 2009.

Grooms plays a central role in Jeter’s stealth request to remove the seven-story sculpture titled “Homer,” which the county commissioned for the 2012 opening of the tax-funded ballpark in Little Havana. Grooms is a friend of former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who recommended the renowned pop artist to provide the public artwork Miami-Dade required as part of the team’s 2009 deal for nearly $400 million in public financing.

The removal of “Homer” comes with significant, not to mention costly, ramifications for the county if Grooms decided to “disavow” the  72-foot sculpture upon its removal, as it “would force Miami-Dade to mark down the value of the county-owned sculpture to virtually nothing.” That would amount to a $2.5 million loss for the county.

“What I would like is for it to stay there,” Grooms said of his sculpture. “I wish it would just stay there and be hit in the bean with baseballs.”

In other words — much like everything else that has transpired since Jeter’s group took over the Marlins — even scrapping an arguably gaudy sculpture (the subject of more mock and ridicule than wonder during its existence) is not without its pitfalls.