Name that Clone

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Readers of the New Yorker are accustomed to erudite themes being depicted on the magazine’s often esoteric cover. The War on Terror heats up in Afghanistan? The New Yorker has ballet dancers on the front page. The president gets impeached? The New Yorker cover depicts two ducks flying over Central Park. Wildfires in Arizona? The immortal visage of monocle-wearer Eustace Tilly greets readers that week.

But this week, when the magazine needed an image of summer, cover artist Peter de Seve took himself out to the ballpark. This week’s cover featured a group of riders plunging down the first hill of the famed Cyclone roller coaster — all of them terrified, except for the lone Brooklyn Cyclone who is sitting near the back, poised to catch a fly ball hit out of Keyspan Park.

So the question on everyone’s mind at the batting cage and in the Cyclones clubhouse was obvious: Who is that unflappable Cyclone with the corn-fed good looks and the curly blond hair poking out from under his cap?

Speculation quickly centered on three possibilities — shaggy-haired catcher Jimmy Anderson, infielder Tyler Beuerlein or shortstop Corey Ragsdale — until Cyclones manager Howard Johnson issued the definitive call: “Look at the hair,” he said. “It’s Anderson.”

But Anderson said it couldn’t be him because the ballplayer on the cover — a painting called “Fair Ball” — is wearing a fielder’s mitt. “I don’t even have anything but catcher’s gloves,” he said.

Unclear which Cyclone was the New Yorker cover boy, The Brooklyn P apers called de Seve at his Park Slope home. He promptly denied that he based the portrait on any one Cyclone player.

“I couldn’t name a Brooklyn Cyclone if I had a bazooka to my head,” de Seve said.

That wasn’t meant as a put-down of the area’s only professional team that won a championship last year. “I went to a game last year and found myself inspired by the whole gestalt of the thing — the ocean, the small stadium, the young, hopeful players,” de Seve continued. “I like my covers to be very specific to a place in New York City, so that’s why I chose Coney Island when I wanted an image of summer.”

In the end, de Seve ruled out Anderson, Beuerlein or Ragsdale. “It’s not meant to be a specific player,” he said, “but merely someone who was acting with great assurance, confidence and skill, someone who goes about his chosen profession with great aplomb.”

Oh, so it’s infielder Chase Lambin, then?

July 1, 2002 issue  

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