SEATTLE — The Mariners open the season on the road in Minnesota this year. That gives the staff at T-Mobile Park more time to prepare the stadium for guests, and one familiar fan favorite is getting its annual shine.
“The Mitt” bronze sculpture has been the ultimate photo opportunity for decades, and the artist behind the piece says the now iconic installation was a major stepping stone for his career.
Gerard Tsutakawa said he was just a budding sculptor back in the 1990’s when the stadium was being build.
“They were holding an open competition for art and I submitted a proposal.”
“Gerry” was very excited when his proposal was accepted and created a life-size cardboard cutout and some models of what would become his nine-by-twelve bronze sculpture.
“After my interview everyone wanted the models so I thought it was gonna be a hit,” Tsutakawa said.
Tsutakawa said he wanted his piece to be something featured outside of the stadium so fans could enjoy it year round.
“Most art behind glass or ropes and you can’t touch it. I wanted people to touch … and get in and on it.”
The bronze-based sculpture has weathered many storms in 23 years and Gerry said he returns every spring for a polish. Gerry and his three-person teams hand wash the sculpture and remove any deposit left by neighborhood seagulls. Blowtorches heat up the bronze and removes the moisture. A hot wax is applied and buffed and special attention is given to the hole in the center of the mitt.
“There’s an original golden bronze tone in the hole of the mitt so it really glows.”
The process takes about two hours and Tsutakawa said it’s a sure sign that Opening day is around the corner.
You can admire, touch and climb through “The Mitt” outside of T-Mobile Park's Left Field entrance at the corner of First and Royal.