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Norwalk native part of All-Star Week festivities

By JOEY MORONA • Jul 13, 2019 at 2:00 PM

CLEVELAND — From the guitar in the logo to the concerts on Mall B, Cleveland's status as the rock and roll capital was a central theme of MLB All-Star Week.

Nowhere was that more evident than Mid-Summer Village "retailtainment pop-up" at Public Square. That's where Fender Guitars and Louisville Slugger teamed up on art exhibit of 31 pairs of hand-painted bats and guitars that pay tribute to two beloved American pastimes — baseball and rock music.

The guitar and bat honoring the Cincinnati Reds’ 150th anniversary was done by Mark Riedy, of Delaware, a Norwalk native and 1975 graduate of St. Paul High School.

Riedy, who graduated from and now teaches at the Columbus College of Art and Design, was selected by MLB to commission two pieces of art for the Cincinnati Reds that was on display throughout the week and then sold in a charity auction held through July. 

“I kinda went back to the old school and did things the more traditional way,” Riedy told the Delaware Gazette. “So, I had to go and dust off my old airbrush and compressor, and go buy paint. I wasn’t even sure some of this material even existed anymore.”

For the guitar design, Riedy said he wanted to include nods to the 1869 Red Stockings team — the first professional baseball team — as well as various elements of Cincinnati’s historical architecture and riverfront. The highly-recognizable smokestacks at GABP are also prominent in the guitar’s design.

He called the design of the bat a “timeline from 1869 to the present” that spirals around the bat, paying tribute to the Reds celebrating their 150th season in professional baseball and the franchise’s five World Series titles, the Gazette reported.

In total, Riedy said the two pieces took around a month to complete. 

The two iconic companies commissioned artists from all 30 major league cities to design a Louisville Slugger bat and Stratocaster guitar for inspired by their hometown's historical, musical and baseball heritage. A 31st bat and guitar pair was created to honor the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Indians guitar created by Allison Liffman, for example, pays tribute to city's rock and roll roots with the phrase "Cleveland Rocks" on the neck. The Cardinals guitar, meanwhile, features the team's mascot striking a Chuck Berry pose. Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius created his team's art, an homage to the city's landmarks and the franchise's 27 World Series championships.

“Almost everyone has been influenced by either sports or music in their lives,” says Evan Jones, Fender’s Chief Marketing Officer, in a release. “I’m excited to be a part of a collaboration that unifies these two passions and brings to life these artist creations in one of America’s most beloved places, the All-Star Game.”

The guitar and bat pairs are being auctioned off on MLB Auctions with proceeds going to MLB Charities to provide instruments and other resources for select music programs. Bidding starts at $2,000. The auction will be open through July 29.

Here is the information for the two Ohio teams:

Cincinnati Reds

Artist: Mark Riedy

Website: markriedy.com

Cleveland Indians

Artist: Allison Liffman

Instagram: @Aliffman

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