Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the secret hangout for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Glad you could join us again for our last meeting of the week. No cover charge. Bring your own beverage. Take a seat by the fire. I never knew we even had a fireplace before tonight. We do have a fireplace, right?
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
In case you hadn’t heard, the Mesa Solar Sox clinched a spot in the AFL Championship Game on Tuesday when the Scottsdale Scorpions lost. It’s a good thing too, since Mesa has lost both of their games this week so far.
Last night, I asked you which team would end up signing Javier Báez for the 2022 season and presumably, beyond. With 30% of the vote, your best guess is that El Mago will re-sign with the Mets. Of course, that means 70% of you don’t think he’s going to the Mets. The Cubs were in second place with 20% of the vote and the Red Sox were in third place with 17%.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. Feel free to skip to the end if you want. You won’t hurt my feelings.
I know that holiday music isn’t for everyone any time of the year and a lot of people think that it should only be played after Thanksgiving. But there are a lot of great jazz versions of Christmas songs and I only have so many editions before the holiday.
I also don’t think that anyone will complain about this live radio broadcast of Charlie Parker playing “White Christmas” from 1948. The sound quality isn’t the greatest, but it’s Bird, so you know it’s worth listening to. And a large part of the song won’t remind you of anything that Irving Berlin wrote, despite his name on the credits.
So with Charlie “Bird” Parker on sax, Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Al Haig on piano, Tommy Porter on bass and Max Roach on drums, here’s “White Christmas.”
I generally don’t have the time to do two movie essays a week, but you can go back and look at what I wrote about Bluebird’s Eighth Wife on Monday night/Tuesday morning. I thought the movie was just “meh,” despite a pretty terrific cast and some impressive talent behind the camera. I promised to watch a better movie for next time, and I did watch the film noir classic, Laura, directed by Otto Preminger and starring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews. I promise you, it’s a much better film. I’ll write about that more next week and if you want to follow along, you can try to watch it before then as well.
Here’s just a quick reminder that I’m always willing to listen to suggestions as to what films you want me to write about. I know someone suggested The Thin Man and its many sequels a little while ago. Whoever that was, I want them to know I haven’t forgotten about it. I’ll get to it eventually. But if you have a favorite classic film that you’d like to bring up for discussion, let me know.
For the purposes of discussion tonight, I’ll point you to this article by Alissa Wilkinson in our corporate cousin Vox about the renaissance of black-and-white cinema over the past few years. There have been a lot of recent films that have been shot entirely or mostly in black-and-white, primarily in “prestige” films looking for awards and not as much in the summer popcorn movie genre.
You can read the article if you want more details. But obviously as I’ve been writing about classic films recently, I’ve been watching a large number of films in monochrome. Before the mid-1960s, the decision to shoot in black-and-white was mostly an economic one. But since then, the difference in price between color and black-and-white film has been negligible and in today’s digital cameras it makes no difference. Therefore, the decision to shoot in black-and-white is an artistic one.
What do you think of this trend? Does a black-and-white film interest you or turn you off? I suppose it does depend of the film—I don’t think anyone wants to see a black-and-white James Bond movie—but do you think the trend has gotten out of hand? Could some of these films have been made better in color?
One point of discussion that might undercut my James Bond point is that the 2015 movie Mad Max: Fury Road was also released in a blu-ray edition in black-and-white. I’ve seen both versions and both versions are excellent, although they each present a very different viewing experience. Among other differences, the black-and-white emphasizes the apocalyptic nature of the film. The color version does a better job of picking up the action and violence.
So do you like this trend of black-and-white movies? Or do you think it is just directors putting on airs to impress voters for awards? What film do you think could have been done better in black-and-white or vice-versa?
Welcome back to those of you who skip all that jazz and movies.
Later today, The Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the winners of the American League and National League MVP Awards. The AL MVP is a foregone conclusion: Shohei Ohtani is going to win that one. But the National League vote is much more interesting.
The three finalists for the NL MVP are the Nationals’ Juan Soto, the Phillies Bryce Harper and the Padres Fernando Tatis Jr. With all due respect to Tatis, it does seem like the award is between Harper and Soto.
Jayson Stark has a long article about the choice between Harper and Soto (The Athletic sub. req.) and it’s worth reading. If you don’t have a subscription to The Athletic, then MLB.com breaks down the three candidates in somewhat less detail.
So read those articles or any other one of your choosing and tell me: Who should be the NL MVP? I’m not going to ask you who is going to win—they’re going to announce it at 5 pm Central time today and this poll is going to be up past that time. But what I’m asking is if you had a vote, which player would get your first-place vote?
The odd thing this year is that we don’t need to remind anyone that the voting takes place before the playoffs, since none of the three finalists played on teams that made the postseason.
And by all means, tell us your vote and why down in the comments.
Who should be the NL MVP?
This poll is closed
Ferrnando Tatis Jr.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you had a great time and will come back next week. Please tip your waitstaff. Drive home safely, if you’re not already home. We’ll be back next week with another edition of BCB After DarkI.