Tacky! Boy, is that new kinetic sculpture beyond the Marlins' outfield fence tacky. Tacky like their tacky new uniforms are tacky. Tacky like the Miami Marlins' tackily alliterative revised name, highlighting the tacky metropolis they call home.
Take it as a gift from the gods of baseball. Not the pinched Puritan baseball deities worshipped by the likes George Will and Ken Burns—those false, flinty idols, consecrated in Green Cathedrals where only organ music plays. No, the real gods, the gods of a game popularized by breweries to get people to sit around in the sunshine drinking beer and hollering. Gods of the exploding scoreboard, the bullpen car, the canned-trumpet "CHARGE!" cheer.
Why shouldn't America's Pastime be gaudy? What's offensively vulgar is Houston, with its sand-and-rust uniforms and fake-quirky angles. Or the glassy revenue-maximizing opulence of Yankee Stadium, where the moneychangers have become the temple. Those are baseball's monuments to cynicism and bad faith. This thing with the leaping fish and flapping flamingos—it's shameless and guileless. Back in the days of Bill Veeck, baseball used to do this better than anyone. Names on the uniforms! Fireworks for home runs! Short-term deals for superstars! Fan voting on in-game strategy! That "PHOOOSH" of flying water is the echo of our lost national greatness.
The aquarium in the backstop is just stupid, though.