MIAMI, FL — When Yankee great Derek Jeter addressed the Miami media for the first time as the new owner of the Marlins last year, the elephant in the room wasn’t really whether Jeter would be trading slugger Giancarlo Stanton. It was the 73-foot Home Run Sculpture in the outfield that comes to life when the Marlins knock one out of the park.
“I read I was getting rid of it. We had never even spoken about it and then someone had mentioned that I was getting rid of the Home Run Sculpture,” insisted Jeter last October. “So, then I heard we couldn’t even if we wanted to get rid of it. I’m not saying that we did.”
Now that the 2018 baseball season is finally in the books, at least when it comes to the Marlins, the fate of the Marlins Home Run Statue is finally sealed.
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Designed by American pop artist Red Grooms, the busy sculpture has sat in the outfield for six years and comes to life when the Marlins score a home run. The piece includes three jumping marlins, a pair of flamingos that flap their wings, shooting water streams and rolling ocean waves.
Workers will take apart the controversial sculpture and reassemble it outside the stadium on the plaza. The artwork will be replaced by a tiered standing room-only area for spectators.
The mechanical sculpture moved when a Marlins player hit a homer and will continue to do so. It also will move at 3:05 p.m. — also Miami’s world famous area code — on game days, and perhaps after victories.
Former team owner Jeffrey Loria, who sold the Marlins a year ago, commissioned the $2.5 million sculpture for the opening of Marlins Park in 2012. Traditionalists like Jeter — a former New York Yankees shortstop — tended to dislike it, while supporters found the pop art very Miami.
Grooms opposed moving the artwork. But Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places board voted unanimously to approve the Marlins’ plan.
“We appreciate the support and collaboration for our proposal from the county and the Art in Public Places trust,” the Marlins said in a statement. They added the new location “will allow the piece to be enjoyed year round in a more public-facing manner.”
Loria didn’t respond to a phone message from the Associated Press requesting comment.
“Every one of our partners has an opinion,” on the statue added Jeter’s partner, businessman Bruce Sherman during that same October 2017 press conference.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Photo by Paul Scicchitano