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The Art Of The Game

August 12, 1990

WHEN PETER H. GORDON of the New York State Museum began putting together an exhibition of baseball-themed art, he discovered it was a massive task. With its thrilling heroics and mesmerizing rhythms, the national pastime has captured the imaginations of American artists and writers in a way that, say, badminton or even soccer never could. What is it about baseball that makes us cherish it so? Curator Gordon has come up with 149 individual answers in "Diamonds Are Forever: Artists and Writers on Baseball," up from Aug. 19 through Oct. 21 at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.

The museum is at 700 Prospect St. in La Jolla. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for students and senior citizens, 50 cents for children 5 to 12; children under 5 free. Admission is free from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. For more information, telephone the museum at (619) 454-3541. The exhibition is sponsored by the American Express Company.

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. A. Bartlett Giamatti. "The Green Fields of the Mind"

"I loved the game," Shoeless Joe went on. "I'd have played for food money. I'd have played free and worked for food. It was the game, the parks, the smells, the sounds. Have you ever held a bat or a baseball to your face? The varnish, the leather." W. P. Kinsella. "Shoeless Joe"

This is the power of their faces It is summer, it is the solstice the crowd is cheering, the crowd is laughing in detail permanently, seriously without thought. William Carlos Williams"At the Ball Game"

Any baseball is beautiful. No other small package comes as close to the ideal in design and utility.It is a perfect object for a man's hand. Roger Angell. "Five Seasons"

Things as critical as this, the selection of a favored baseball team, are not, as some suspect, a matter of choice; one does not choose a team as one does not select his own genes. They are confirmed upon you, more than we know an act of heredity. David Halberstam ."The Fan Divided"

Things as critical as this, the selection of a favored baseball team; are not, as some suspect; a matter of choice; one does not choose a team as one does not select his own genes; they are confirmed upon you; more than we know an act of heredity. David Halberstam. "The Fan Divided"

When I emerged from the tunnel and stood there in the first tier, looking out over home base, I gasped at the perfect greenness of it. So this was a diamond. Lesley Hazleton. "Hers" column, The New York Times

Excerpt by W. P. Kinsella copyright 1982 by W. P. Kinsella. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Co. Excerpt by William Carlos Williams from "The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume I: 1909-1939" copyright 1938 by New Directions Publishing Corporation. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation. Excerpt by Roger Angell copyright 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 by Roger Angell. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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