October, in some ways, transforms baseball. The stakes are suddenly higher; the crowds are tenser. And yet, as Edward Steed shows in his second cover for the magazine, some things remain the same—namely, the rituals and sense of gesture that give the game its spirit. We recently talked to Steed about his love for the sport.
You were born and raised in rural England. When did you become a fan of baseball?
Actually quite recently, when I lived in Taiwan for a few years. There was a lot of baseball on TV there. I watched Japanese and Taiwanese games and some American games. I just liked the way it looked; the colors and the slowness and the repetition. When I was a child I watched a lot of snooker on TV. It reminded me of that. I started going to games in Taiwan and, later, in Japan and America. But I still prefer watching on TV.
There’s a special attention to gesture here. Is that one of the things that draws you to the game?
The game is so repetitive, I think you either take an interest in the small details or you stop watching. I’m not sure what I like about baseball. I do like it, and I like drawing, and I try to draw baseball but find it difficult to capture. This is my most recent attempt and I will keep trying. I have learned some things about drawing by trying to draw baseball, and I might learn what I like about baseball from drawing it.
A few panels from Steed's rough original sketch.
In recent years, there’s been a lot of discussion about speeding up the game. Is it fair to say you are against such measures?
I don’t mind how fast or slow the games are. It seems that they are trying to market baseball to people who don't like baseball. I think they should just be trying to make the games more beautiful.
The Mets. I’d like Tampa Bay to win this World Series. If they’re eliminated then I’d like the Dodgers to win.
For more covers celebrating baseball, see below:
“September 8, 1951,” by Peter Arno
“Fly Ball,” by Bruce McCall
“Strike Zone,” by Mark Ulriksen