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Celebrate Opening Day with the Endearingly Odd Collage Art in Ben Zobrist’s House

And mourn the fate of “Homer,” the absurd and absurdly wonderful pop-art installation in the Miami Marlins’ stadium by SAIC dropout and “City of Chicago” artist Red Grooms.

Image: YouTube

Two things I love most in the world are baseball and real-estate porn, so when Crain’s Dennis Rodkin broke the story of Ben Zobrist buying a house in 2016, I had to click.

It turns out that it’s very… Zobrist-y. It’s a huge house—six bedrooms, 4,800 feet—that doesn’t look like one, a newly built non-McMansion Victorian that fits in well in the St. Ben’s neighborhood in North Center. It blends; it’s a nice house for the best super-utility player in baseball over the past few years, doing a lot more than it looks like and drawing just a little attention to itself.

Not long after he built it he invited cameras in for a tour (h/t Meredith Shiner). Inside is a Father’s Day gift for Zobrist that, well, looks like a Hieronymous Bosch painting if Bosch was a genial multi-position talent from downstate Eureka with a singer-songwriter wife.

In less happy baseball art news, the Cubs are kicking off the season in Miami, and as befitting their already depressing season of tanking—Opening Day starter Jose Urena has already hit three batters as I type this—the Marlins organization has so far unsuccessfully tried to rid themselves of “Homer,” their in/famous home-run sculpture. Derek Jeter and his fellow co-owners want it gone; artist Red Grooms wants it to stay, and if he legally disavows it could wipe out its considerable value.

And Grooms is an honest-to-goodness artist, a School of the Art Institute dropout who made good and became Bob Dylan’s favorite visual artist. His tenure in Chicago was brief, but the city would also make him what he is: his three-dimensional, walk-through painting/sculpture/set City of Chicago, which debuted at the Allen Frumkin Gallery on Michigan Avenue in 1968, was his breakthrough work.

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