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A View From the Bleachers

Minimalist Ballpark Art: Stuff Your Wife Will Actually Let You Hang on the Walls

One thing every member of MyGameBalls.com has in common is that we've all got a collection of baseballs. For some, the number of balls snagged is in the thousands... for others it's still in the double (or single) digits. But I bet if you're anything like me, your collection doesn't stop there. Maybe it's not just baseballs... maybe its autographs or ticket stubs or programs. Maybe it's not just baseball... but other sports, too. Hockey, football, basketball... or even soccer. Heck, let's go out on a limb and imagine some of the folks on here collect stuff that has nothing to do with sports. Records, coins, or even pillows... what makes us each an interesting individual is that our collections are all slightly different. And we've all bonded over one crucial element - baseballs.

Well, in the fall of 2013 my collection became slightly more expansive after reading a certain article I found on Deadspin (http://deadspin.com/can-you-identify-the-baseball-stadium-from-the-minimali-1447382465). It was then I was introduced to the world of minimalist ballparks and the graphic design talents of S. Preston. I pored over the images dissecting which stadium was which, wondering if I could pick out the parks I'd been to based on their defining features and the way those features were represented through simple line and color choices. A halo around an A, a larger than life baseball glove... light towers that look like toothbrushes!

I was more than just intrigued - I was obsessed! Like a pearl off a bat during BP, I had to snag some of this art for my home. But how to present it to the Mrs.? I had baseballs, autographs, and all sorts of baseball souvenirs... but artwork hadn't really crossed my mind. Like many of the MyGameBalls members out there - I have to consult with someone before popping baseball memorabilia just any ol' place in the house. After flipping through the images with my wife I was pleasantly surprised when she looked at me and said, "Wow, these are pretty cool." And then I knew that we'd be making a purchase... but which one... which two... which five ballparks would we choose? Our "home" stadium, the Big A? Maybe we'd pick up a print from each ballpark we'd visited together. We couldn't decide... and then we got distracted by life and the walls remained minimalist baseball stadium-less. Another "Oh, we should have done that," moment in our busy lives.

A couple of months later Christmas was upon us and my family pulled out a large, flat package from the closet wrapped up in festive paper. My wife, finding S. Preston's work suitable for showcasing not just in a corner of the garage, had purchased a huge print (set in Angels red matting) of the thirty MLB ballparks. A black frame, designed to look like the leather of my trusty baseball glove surrounded the clean design. I was in heaven with the newest piece of my baseball collection!

I couldn't wait to get my art home - to think... baseball art on the wall of my house! Wife-approved - and even encouraged! Even after a move to a different place - my ballparks are a centerpiece and a talking point when guests come by - situated over the bed in our guest room/office. Friends and family have fun picking out their favorite stadium - and I even ordered a smaller (11" x 17" print for my office at work)... and my cell phone has a minimalist Angel Stadium wallpaper now.

Check out his work if you've got a minute: http://sprestondesigns.com/ Can you identify all thirty stadiums?

Maybe when the gates first open and we rush in to BP we see only those slightly off-white orbs and nothing else. But, you see, it's not just about baseballs - each of us has a unique personality that shapes our collections. I've found so much joy in connecting my passion with other MGB folks, sharing our experiences, and finding out that we're not just obsessed with catching baseballs in the stands. There's a real person out there connected to each username with interests beyond those 108 stitches - and we each have passion for life, art, music, memorabilia, and so much more. What a great community.

What are the branches of your collection - baseball or otherwise?

Matt Jackson is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com and also maintains a Blog.

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