An Unprecedented New Yorker Cover

By JCB on Sunday, April 6, 2008

My jaw literally dropped when I picked up my weekend mail this evening, and saw the cover of the latest issue of the New Yorker. The title is "Lost and Found" by Mark Ulriksen. Here's the image (with its source pulling the image directly from the "About Us" page of the New Yorker website for this issue):

So, what do we think the title means? Beyond the obvious, an arm wearing Cubbie blue holding up the baseball found within the familiar lush Boston Ivy, I wonder if there has to be some larger significance here. I'm going to let it roll around for a few days and see what comes up. If it can take on a larger meaning--perhaps a prophesy?--about the Cubs finally coming out of the wilderness with the prize, I'm all for Ulriksen getting it right.

Roger Angell also posted a brief column for the Talk of the Town, entitled "Green"--as in money. It's rather pessimistic and fatalistic in tone, concluding: "Baseball, we’ve discovered once again, is always better as a sample of American business life than as a place for moral lessons. It’s still the national pastime." I think it echoes many of the concerns voiced in this space along the way. Still, whatever he writes, it's nice to see Angell penning commentary about baseball because his cadence smacks of an older era of sportswriter.

His point, at its simplest, is that baseball is in some significant ways different than before, and from his tone, I think it's safe to say "worse" than before. I think he's both right and wrong. He's right that "[b]aseball pressure is much, much higher today—because of the fans’ and the owners’ insistent demand for success, because of the greater competition brought about by the wild card and the inflated postseason and the luxury tax on larger teams, and because of the money." But he never goes on to observe that between the lines, certain truths of the game remain true; and certain hopes will always ring out. Whereas he sees his AAA call-up yelling "Help!" in the face of the veteran's advantages, I see the infielder thinking to himself, "This is my chance. Bring it on."

But I suppose that might just be the Cubs fan in me coming out again.

Posted Sunday, April 6, 2008 by JCB


The image would be worth saving- if it weren't for that hideous "New Yorker" scrawled across the top! (First stealing Ziggy cartoons, now this?!)

Seriously, though, it's a great cover- too bad it didn't appear on a Chicago-related publication. But, as you mention, because the crux of the related article is that "certain truths of the game remain true; and certain hopes will always ring out", what better image to represent that ideal than the Agony and Ivy of Wrigley Field?

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