A few days ago I was sailing out of Sag Harbor with some friends including Russell Blue and Eric Ernst who, over the years, have helped keep the Artists Writers Charity Softball Game alive. Naturally the subject came up and I thought about my outfield sign at the ball field next to the Bridgehampton Volunteer FD. I was a member there for 17 years, most of that time as an EMT. That’s another long blog entirely by itself. Anyway, during the summer you can catch these guys warming up on Sunday morning for their once a year debut. In the late spring and Summer the Little League plays there. Just like any other small town around the country the family is there to cheer the team on. It’s a nice picture of Americana that plays across the country and in my own backyard. Once a year the Bridgehampton FD challenges the Sag Harbor FD to a game filled by ‘refreshments’, or they used to at least. Summer is a busy time for the FD as well. In an emergency the ball field can serve as a landing zone for the Medivac helicopter. The FD would show up for these calls and assist, closing the road while the Medivac landed and took off. Around the outfield fence local business can advertise by renting a 4′ x 8′ metal billboard that hangs on the 4′ high fence. The fee for the billboard goes to maintaining the field and helping the Little League, or used to at least. I can’t say for sure it works that way any longer but the Little League is still playing there and the outfield fence still looks much the same as it did when I was a member.
One year I asked if I could pay for my own advertisement. Some old signs were coming down and fence was in need of some new recruits. I was given a new 4′ x 8′ metal sheet that I could have painted by someone or paint my own design. I thought the best idea was to appropriate an idea by the pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (without the ben-day dots). It’s really not an advertisement. More like a piece of art work in center field. After a few years, Butch Lowe who was in charge of taking care of the signs for the FD said he wasn’t going to charge me. Who knows why. I guess Butch felt the same way about I did. It’s just a piece of public art that has less to do with advertising than crediting the game and baseball. As far as I can recall this is the only piece of public art I’ve ever done.