Welcome back to the final night this week of BCB After Dark: the swinging spot for night owl, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re so glad you stopped by. Let us take your hat and coat. There’s an open table near the fireplace. Bring your own beverage.
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.
Major League Baseball is still in a lockout and will be until next year at least. So we might as well just enjoy the winter.
Last night, we asked you who you thought would have a better 2022 season, Cubs legend Anthony Rizzo or current Cubs first baseman Frank “The Tank” Schwindel? Despite the forecasting systems favoring Rizzo, it wasn’t a close call in your mind. With 79 percent of the vote, you felt that Schwindel will outperform Rizzo next season. So I’m guessing most of you don’t want to see the Cubs bring Rizzo back then, since you think Schwindel is the better player at the moment?
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end if you want. You won’t hurt my feelings.
I’ve got another Christmas jazz tune tonight. I’m sorry, but holiday jazz music is a genre unto itself. But I can promise you that this one is a little different than the rest.
Tonight’s selection is from guitarist Dave Stryker’s 2019 album, Eight Track Christmas. Stryker has a series of albums over the past decade where he does jazz versions of seventies music under the “Eight Track” name. With Eight Track Christmas, he expands that into holiday music, because as anyone in the music industry knows, that’s where the money is.
I heard this track earlier this week and I thought it was bonkers. It combines “Frosty the Snowman” with “Am I The Same Girl?,” a.k.a. “Soulful Strut.” So now that you know what Stryker is going for, I present “Soulful Frosty.” As a diehard Swing Out Sister fan, I’m naturally drawn to this one.
I guess there’s no denying that the holiday season is upon us and that means lots of Christmas movies. So I thought tonight we’d just offer up what our favorite Christmas (or other holiday) movies are. I was inspired by this article in the Washington Post about Karolyn Grimes, who 75 years ago played Zuzu in It’s a Wonderful Life. The story of that film has been told many times. It was pretty much forgotten (and Grimes had left acting) soon after its release and was only re-discovered in the 1970s when its copyright expired and TV stations could run it on Christmas for free. That’s when it got turned into a holiday classic. Grimes talks about how surprised she was around that time when people started showing up at her door and asking if she was Zuzu. And of course, then six-year-old Grimes got maybe the most famous line in the film when she said “Look, Daddy, teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”
It might shock people who have been following me putting up Christmas jazz music for the better part of a month, but I can be a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to Christmas. There are things about it that I like and there’s a lot about it that I don’t like. That may be why one of my favorite Christmas movies is Terry Zwigoff’s 2003 comedy, Bad Santa, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Lauren Graham, Tony Cox and Bernie Mac. It manages to have a happy ending without anyone really learning the true meaning of Christmas.
As far as It’s a Wonderful Life goes, I alternate between loving it and hating it. I guess it depends on my mood. I will argue that it’s the ultimate Frank Capra movie. Most of Capra’s films have some sort of “common man” whose decency changes the world. It was a lesson from his Catholic upbringing. In It’s a Wonderful Life, Capra literally has that common man die (or cease to exist) and then be resurrected. You don’t get more Capra than that.
Last year for Christmas I watched David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. I can’t say that’s a Christmas movie, but it didn’t feel out of place on Christmas Eve.
So if you would, please share with us your favorite holiday movies. If you want to say Die Hard, no one is going to argue with you about whether or not it’s a Christmas movie. There’s one list of the best Christmas movies that has The Shop Around the Corner in the Top Ten, and I’ve already made clear that I love that picture. So if that’s a Christmas movie, add it to my favorites.
But spread a little holiday cheer and tell us your picks.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and the movies.
We’re going to assume that the lockout is going to end eventually and that the Cubs still have money to spend for 2022. The first one is a pretty safe assumption. The second one is a little less safe, but it’s probably still likely that the Cubs will sign at least one more free agent before the season starts.
In taking reader questions at The Athletic, someone (James F., to be precise) asked Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma about the possibility of the Cubs signing free agent left-hander Carlos Rodón. (The Athletic sub. req.) Rodón was the third pick in the draft back in 2014 (one pick before Kyle Schwarber) and until 2021, he was mostly a disappointment on the South Side. Rodón mostly wasn’t terrible, but for the first five years of his career, he was a back-end starter with the White Sox.
Then Rodón got off to a great start in 2021 and was one of the best pitchers in the American League. He was named to the All-Star team and was a Cy Young Award candidate. He’d added about three miles per hour onto his fastball and he was throwing more strikes than ever. He set career-highs in strikeouts and a career low in walks.
But in August, Rodón started to fatigue. His fastball velocity dropped back to the 92 miles per hour range that it was earlier in his career. He missed some time on the injured list and when he came back, he looked more like the pitcher he had been from 2015 to 2020 and not the one from earlier in 2021.
So what do you think about the Cubs signing Rodón? I have no idea what kind of contract he’d get. It doesn’t seem likely that he’d get more than two or three years. A one-year deal isn’t impossible if the the money was large enough and Rodón felt he could go on the market again next year. But he certainly isn’t going to get the kind of per-year money that Marcus Stroman got.
The Cubs could certainly use one more starter, but you can make the case that shortstop is a bigger priority. Or even just a big left-handed hitting power hitter.
So should the Cubs try to sign Carlos Rodón when this stupid lockout is over?
Should the Cubs sign Carlos Rodón?
This poll is closed
Thank you again so much for stopping by. We’ll get your hat and coat for you. Please tip the staff generously for the holiday. Drive home safely. And we’ll see you again next week with another edition of BCB After Dark.