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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Capozzi: 60 seconds with Ted Simmons

Ted Simmons is a Takka Takka fan? Didn’t see that coming.

Tell me about your art collection.

That’s not really a topic I want to project to people. I know it’s out there and I know people find it interesting but, you know, professional baseball players walking around talking about contemporary art is, um, a little out of character and out of context. So to give a brief kind of looksie is not something I’m all enthusiastic about. It’s something my wife and I do. It’s something we’ve done over the years.

I think Mr. (Jeff) Loria likes Roy Lichtenstein. You have anything by him?

No. I’d love to have a Lichtenstein print but I much prefer his paintings. Hey, I know it’s interesting - what’s a former ballplayer doing collecting contemporary art - but before long, I’ll spend three hours talking about it and I don’t want to do that.


Repoz Posted: August 17, 2008 at 01:24 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, special topics

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   1. cardsfanboy Posted: August 17, 2008 at 02:50 AM (#2906055)
how many times does Ted have to say "I don't want to talk about it"
   2. a bebop a rebop Posted: August 17, 2008 at 03:08 AM (#2906067)
What a weird interview.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2008 at 07:16 PM (#2906412)
I'm pretty sure that's a "look-see".

At least the interviewer didn't say "contemporary art? you mean like LeRoy Niemann?"

OK, didn't RTFA, maybe he did.
   4. vern_fuller_brushback Posted: August 17, 2008 at 09:55 PM (#2906578)
When asked, Babe Ruth said that yes, he liked art, "Art Fletcher and Art Nehf."
   5. GIANTlhbASS Posted: August 18, 2008 at 05:27 AM (#2906722)
60 awkward seconds. Why's he so defensive?
   6. Walt Davis Posted: August 18, 2008 at 09:46 AM (#2906741)
Why's he so defensive?

Well, there's a reasonable chance they actually talked before the 60 seconds and the guy already came off a bit ... ummm ... odd.

Also, it's just damn hard to explain. I'm a big jazz fan, especially of the "avant-garde" stuff. Folks will ask me who my favorites are. I've got like 4,000 CDs (not a big collection by jazz standards really) by a few hundred musicians and the questioner won't have heard of 99% of them (generally). So I generally answer with something like "sorry, just not possible to answer that one" and come off as an elitist jackass. Then try something like the explanation I just gave and come off as an elitist jackass with a wee bit of an obsession. So usually I just say "oh, you know, Ellington, Coltrane, Monk" and hope they know who they are.

So yeah, I can imagine what it's like in Simmons' shoes (if anyone ever wanted to interview me), having the guy mention in the pre-interview that he thinks it's fascinating that I like weird music and me saying something like "really, it's not worth talking about, just too hard to explain" ... and then I'd get annoyed if the guy brought it up anyway.

And in the case of the baseball player who likes modern art, there's the whole "Ripley's Believe it or not" aspect that Simmons is probably quite tired of.

When it comes to art, I'm sure it's also hard to explain to folks who don't move in that world. Look at the Lichtenstein answer. Simmons is saying "I'd love to have a print but I much prefer his paintings ... which there is no freaking way I will ever be able to afford." Finding auction sales is harder online than I realized but I think "Sailboats" sold earlier this year for $7 M (if I understood the info correctly). So sure, Loria can collect Lichtenstein, Simmons ... not so much. So that the guy even asks about Lichtenstein shows he hasn't a clue (I'm guessing ... I don't have a clue) and it just makes it more pointless for Simmons to talk about the artists (mostly little-known ones probably) that he digs and collects.

Also, you'd be amazed how pissed off modern art makes some people. I know this is true of music -- there's something about music that violates people's preconceptions (i.e. unobvious or even lack of melody, rhythm) which just sets some folks off. It's kinda fascinating except when you're the one being yelled at. So another reason to avoid it.
   7. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 18, 2008 at 12:23 PM (#2906761)
Walt, I loved your explanation a while ago about not worrying about getting some Repozian intros. You wrote that his intros should be treated like modern art -- look at it for a minute and if it doesn't make sense, move on to the next one. I think that explanation will work well in reverse with modern art.
Same for "avant-garde" jazz. Years and years ago, one of my friends was into it and I tried. We would refer to it as "Screech and Honk" Music. I liked a little of it, could hear what some of the others were doing, but basically, it didn't resonate or it was too much work to listen to. I have to stick with Coltrane, Davis, Tyner and the like.
Same with avant-garde "classical" music -- while I love Philip Glass, Steve Reich and their kin, the stuff that goes beyond those guys, what we called "Box and Chain" music because it sounded like people dragging boxes and chains across the floor, is similarly either too hard or devoid of context for me to grab onto.
   8. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 18, 2008 at 12:48 PM (#2906782)
This seems as good a time as any to bring up the old Dan Quisenberry quote on Ted Simmons. IIRC, it was, "He doesn't sound like a ballplayer. He says things like 'nevertheless' and 'if, in fact'."
   9. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: August 18, 2008 at 04:50 PM (#2907081)
It's look-see (as in "look and see"), not looksie (as in a cute form of "look"), right?
   10. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 18, 2008 at 05:05 PM (#2907109)
Of course, it's not devoid of content, it's just not the kind of content you're used to. My approach to this sort of thing is to doggedly try to explain and explain, in a way that seems (to me, anyway) as un-patronizing as possible. Sometimes it works a little. But I also don't let it bother me, because physicists don't expect that a lawyer will necessarily understand their most advanced activities, though they're delighted to discover that one does. Why should I expect that a non-musician would understand advanced music? It's not their job to understand it, though I'm glad when one does. (Although one also doesn't have to understand it to "like" it, which makes it different from most other things.)
   11. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 18, 2008 at 05:30 PM (#2907148)
it's not devoid of content

Context, on the other hand, is everything.
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 18, 2008 at 05:37 PM (#2907155)
You want bizarre "art" check out the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, OH. I thought I had seen some weird stuff visiting places in NY and San Fran. Nope.
   13. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 18, 2008 at 05:39 PM (#2907161)
Although one also doesn't have to understand it to "like" it, which makes it different from most other things
True, and even though I understood why another friend thought that Steely Dan was the greatest rock group of all time, it didn't mean that I had to like SD. :)
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: August 18, 2008 at 05:58 PM (#2907196)
I don't think the specifics of Ted Simmons' art collection. But I do think insight into how a ballplayer got interested in modern art would make interesting reading.
   15. Shredder Posted: August 18, 2008 at 06:23 PM (#2907244)
My Ted Simmons story: I once wore his helmet without knowing it for nine innings. I was the bat boy for the Braves in this game. I needed to wear a helmet while outside the dugout, so I found a helmet with no ear flaps in a bag and put it on. Didn't know who's it was. It was too big, but I wore my hat underneath it. Simmons was behind the plate charting pitches the whole game until he had to pinch hit in the ninth, when he finally came over and asked for it back. I thought it was pretty cool that he didn't get pissed at me for just taking it. I can't remember what I wore for the final two batters, other than my hat.

So I figure he's a good dude just for that.
   16. Repoz Posted: August 18, 2008 at 06:43 PM (#2907274)
I don't think the specifics of Ted Simmons' art collection. But I do think insight into how a ballplayer got interested in modern art would make interesting reading.

Word has it that after Ted Simmons set his hair on fire he screamed out something that sounded like..."GUERNICA!"

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