Baseball has begun! And Skirball is here to help you celebrate.

By Frederick Dennstedt from los angeles, usa (Dodger Stadium) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Frederick Dennstedt from los angeles, usa (Dodger Stadium) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

As of this writing, the Los Angeles Dodgers have yet to lose a regular season baseball game in 2016, or in fact give up a single run. The way I see it, they’re well on their way to the first perfect season in professional baseball history.

OK, realistically you and I know it’s not really going to last, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve been waiting a long time for this season to start and, well, so far so good.

There is sadness tinged with the joy, though, as beloved Dodger announcer Vin Scully has announced that this will be his final season. And you’d think the sentimentality of it all might encourage Time Warner want to make the games available to any and all local fans that wish to see them, but no such luck.

Of course there’s nothing like seeing a game in person. In addition to Dodger Stadium, which is a now the third oldest stadium in the major leagues, there are also several minor league teams within a radius of 100 miles or less. One is even a Dodgers farm team.

And while Time/Warner may not be inviting you to play ball, The Skirball Center certainly is, with two baseball-related events, both well worth your while.

The first is a series of baseball movies, starting this Friday with The Sandlot and continuing with several other baseball-themed Friday night movies, shown on an outdoor screen. For all of these, the museum re-opens at 6:30 pm, with the movie starting at 8:30 (exact starting time dependent on sunset). Admission is $10, $8 for Skirball members and $6 for full-time students and children under 12. Tickets include admission to the museum.

And on that trip to the museum, you can see the baseball-themed exhibit, Chasing Dreams and The Unauthorized History of Baseball in 100-Odd Paintings: The Art of Ben Sakoguchi , which opens the previous night, April 7th. You can also take part in “opening night” activities, with games, music, and a photo booth, with drinks and food available for purchase (no outside alcohol is allowed).

Sakoguchi, born in 1938 in San Bernadino, taught at Pasadena City College until his retirement in 1997. He spent part of his childhood in a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona. His colorful, occasionally humorous and often provocative artwork uses a baseball theme (often with bold, bright colors, using the imagery of vintage orange crate labels) to explore positive and negative aspects of American culture.

“Ben Sakoguchi’s dynamic and thoughtful series serves as a kind of ‘people’s history’ of baseball,” says Robert Kirschner, Skirball Museum Director. “By shedding light on figures and communities who have been overlooked, forgotten, or misrepresented—including women athletes, immigrant and Native American players, and fallen sports heroes—Sakoguchi’s unique paintings counter the idealized notion of the game and highlight the contributions of marginalized populations to American culture.”

Canvases are grouped into themes including “High Jinks,” “Steroids” “Segregated Baseball” and “Global Baseball.” Through his work Sakoguchi examines challenges faced by minority groups both on and off the field, depicting subjects from Pam Postema, the first woman umpire to officiate a major league spring training game, to Little League Baseball pitcher Mo’ne Davis, the first little league player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, in a painting portraying Davis wearing the jersey of legendary Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige. There are also several new works, including several portraying a Jewish “Dream Team” and a personal series devoted to Sakoguchi’s father, a grocery store owner who passed on his love of the game to his son.

Featuring more than 150 paintings, The Unauthorized History of Baseball in 100-Odd Paintings will be on view during baseball season, from April 7 through September 4, 2016. It is presented at the Skirball to complement the major exhibition Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American, which considers baseball as an intersection of sport, identity, race, and ethnicity.

The other movies to appear are as follows:

Field of Dreams – Friday, May 20

42 – Friday, June 10

A League of Their Own – Friday, September 16

Dave Soyars

About Dave Soyars

Dave Soyars is a freelance dilettante who is willing to try almost anything once. He knows a lot about very little but at least a little about almost everything.
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