You can see art just about anywhere, but the scale and scope tend to grow with the city and museum in which the art is housed. ¶ Few places remind a person of this quite like Chicago and its magnificent art institute. A visitor there this weekend was greeted by the usual masterpieces as well as a special exhibition of some of French artist Edgar Degas’ pieces — most notably one titled “Scene from the Steeplechase: The Fallen Jockey.”
The piece itself is quite striking, but in this case the process seems to offer the greater takeaway. Degas, who was born in 1834, painted the original version in 1866; unhappy with it, he set it aside and tinkered with it again 15 years later and again roughly 15 years after that. (The revisions, which he made on the same canvas, are noticeable upon close inspection.)
It remained in Degas’ studio until his death in 1917 — more than 50 years after he started it, and perhaps a sign that he still didn’t consider it complete.
As I contemplated the picture, it reinforced an important notion in both art and life: Just because something is done doesn’t necessarily mean it’s finished.
(Here’s where I make a strange leap from art to baseball, lest you were worried you had turned to the wrong section of the website.)
We tend to think of sports seasons as being self-contained, with starting points and ending points. This is true to a large degree, of course.
The Twins, for instance, can’t go back and paint over the parts of this season they didn’t like with the benefit of hindsight, nor can they retroactively tinker with the 2015 roster knowing what they know now about how the season has played out.
That’s the beauty and the curse of sports: There are no take-backs, and you have to live with how everything played out the first time, for better or worse.
In a larger sense, the 2015 Twins season — this works particularly well for a team building for the future — will not merely have an endpoint in a little over a month (maybe more, if the postseason comes calling).
Like the first draft of a novel, the first take of a movie scene or the first attempt at a masterwork of art, the Twins season at some point will be done, but the Twins as they are constructed are not finished.
They’ve learned valuable things about so many young players, both good and bad. It’s a painful process, but the sorting out of prospects often plays out this way — and leads to this conclusion:
They can’t redo this season, but they very well could do it better next season and beyond. Fans should just hope they work faster than Degas.