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BCB After Dark: We wish you a merry Cubs-mas

The holiday party for night owls, early-risers and Cubs fans abroad asks what was your favorite present of the 2021 season.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: your not-office holiday party for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. You’re looking especially festive tonight. Please come on in out of the cold. We’ll take your hat and coat. Please warm yourself by the fireplace. Bring your own warm 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.

Last night I asked you what you thought the Cubs chances were of signing free agent shortstop Carlos Correa. Thirty percent of you picked “Between ten and twenty-five percent,” and I think that’s a reasonable choice. I think the second-place finisher, with 26 percent, “Less than ten percent” is too pessimistic. But the third-place vote getter, “Between twenty-five and fifty percent” is reasonable if a tad optimistic. Only eight percent of you said that there was no chance and just eleven percent went with the rather optimistic prediction of better than a fifty percent chance.

We’re still in a lockout and will be until 2022. I got my COVID booster vaccine today and I feel fine other than a very sore left arm. That makes typing a bit difficult, but I’ll power through my injury for you. It’s the last BCB After Dark before Christmas, so I owe it to you.

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.

Tonight’s jazz selection is going to be the final Christmas song for a while, so I guess I’d better make it a good one. So here’s Duke Ellington and His Orchestra playing the entire “Nutcracker Suite” for you. This one is from 1960, so it’s past Ellington’s prime of the late-twenties to early-forties, but it is part of his career revival of the late-fifties and sixties.

I’ve been busy preparing for the holidays, but I’ll try to give you a quick piece on the 1947 holiday film The Bishop’s Wife, directed by Henry Koster and starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven.

The Bishop’s Wife is one of those “heavenly” comedies where a guardian angel comes down to help someone in need. In this case, the angel is named “Dudley” (Grant) and the people in need are Bishop Henry Brougham (Niven) and his wife Julia (Young). And yes, he’s obviously a protestant bishop so don’t ask why a bishop has a wife.

The bishop is a man of good heart, but who has climbed the church hierarchy so far that he’s trapped in a bureaucracy of fundraising and politics that he’s forgotten the church’s primary mission to minister to those in need. This has also caused a great deal of stress on his marriage to his wife Julia, as well as his relationship with their daughter Debby. (Karolyn Grimes, a.k.a. Zuzu from It’s a Wonderful Life.)

The angel Dudley appears to the bishop and offers his services. Henry is highly skeptical that Dudley is actually an angel, but he can’t very well deny the existence of angels and still be a good churchman. Julia and Debby just think that Dudley is Henry’s new assistant.

Without spoiling the plot of the movie, Dudley manages to point the Brougham family in the right direction. Julia re-discovers the joy in life and what made her fall in love with her husband and a life of service and Henry realizes what the real purpose of the church should be.

It’s hard to dislike any character that Cary Grant plays and Dudley is no exception. The little twinkle in Grant’s eye that he used in so many other pictures gets turned up to eleven in The Bishop’s Wife, fitting his status as an angel. Niven made a career of playing uptight authority figures and he has no troubles with this one. He gets quite jealous of all the time that Dudley is spending with his wife, as would most men whose wife was spending a lot of time with someone who looked like Cary Grant.

Loretta Young is Loretta Young. She’s plays Julia as charming, kind and smart. Young definitely creates a character whom you root for to get her life straightened out.

The Bishop’s Wife isn’t a great movie in my estimation, but it’s hard not to recommend a film starring Cary Grant, especially when he gets to really turn on the charm like he does in this movie. If you’re looking for a Christmas movie that you haven’t seen 100 times before, you could do a lot worse than The Bishop’s Wife.

In this scene, Dudley takes Julia (and a cabdriver) ice skating with the help of just a little angelic magic and a whole lot of Cary Grant charm.

The Bishop’s Wife appears to be available for free on YouTube with ads.

The Bishop’s Wife was also re-made in 1996 as The Preacher’s Wife, starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston and Courtney B. Vance.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and the movies.

Cubs fans have gotten a lot of coal in their stockings this past year. Losing Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez at the trade deadline was a tough blow, especially since the team lost Kyle Schwarber and Yu Darvish in the offseason.

But we’re not going to focus on that tonight. We’re going to talk about what your favorite unexpected present was as a Cubs fan this year. I don’t mean the authentic jersey you got for your birthday, although if you want to tell us about that in the comments, please do.

No, what I’m talking about is just an unexpected gift this year from the Cubs that gave you joy. It could be a player like Frank Schwindel or a play like Báez stealing first base against the Pirates.

The players should be self-evident, but here’s a quick reminder on the three “moments” that I’ve included in the poll.

April 28: Anthony Rizzo strikes out Freddie Freeman.

May 27: Javier Báez steals first base.

June 24: Zach Davies, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel no-hit the Dodgers.

July 21. The Cubs score six runs in the ninth to beat the Cardinals.

So what’s your favorite Cubs unexpected present this year?


What’s you favorite Cubs present of 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Rizzo strikes out Freeman
    (3 votes)
  • 46%
    Báez steals first
    (52 votes)
  • 3%
    Combined no-hitter
    (4 votes)
  • 18%
    The Cubs score six runs in 9th to beat St. Louis
    (21 votes)
  • 0%
    Rafael Ortega
    (0 votes)
  • 21%
    Frank Schwindel
    (24 votes)
  • 1%
    Patrick Wisdom
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    Marcus Stroman
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Something Else (leave in coments)
    (2 votes)
111 votes total Vote Now

I’m sure I forgot something. That’s what the comments are for.

Thank you again so much for stopping by. We’ll bring you your hat and coat. Please drive home safely and have a very merry Christmas. After a year like we’ve had, please take time out to treat yourself. And stop by again after the holiday for another edition of BCB After Dark.