Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the jazz and baseball club for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. If it’s your first time, then we’re so glad you found us. If you’re a regular, then we really appreciate your continuing patronage. There’s no cover charge tonight. You can warm yourself by the fire. 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.
Last night I tried something different and asked you about your favorites from the 1953 Cubs. I didn’t expect many of you to actually have memories of the team, but I did think that some of you had read about the team or had baseball cards or met some of them in their post-career days. And again, I excluded Ernie Banks because he would have won the vote in a landslide. So those of you who did vote picked Phil Cavarretta as your favorite 1953 Cubs player in the non-Mr. Cub division. Cavaretta got 38 percent of the vote. Tied for second were Hank Sauer and Ralph Kiner with 15 percent each.
If this lockout doesn’t end soon, I’m really going to be scraping the barrel for poll questions. If next spring I’m forced to ask “Which member of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp would you most like to see in a Cubs uniform?”, I think I’m going to quit. (Other than Seiya Suzuki, who has already been posted.)
It’s Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, and so I do generally do a film essay tonight. But I do always have time for a jazz track, so those who skip that should jump to the end now.
We’ve got another jazz holiday track tonight, but it’s not a holiday standard that you’re likely familiar with. It’s “Blue Xmas (For Whom It May Concern)” by the Miles Davis Sextet with Bob Dorough on piano and lead vocals. It was a part of a “Jingle Bell Jazz” album that Columbia Records put together in 1962 with one track from each of their big jazz stars.
If the voice of Bob Dorough sounds familiar, it’s probably because you are of a certain age and you grew up listening to him on Saturday morning cartoons. Dorough was the musical director of the “Schoolhouse Rock” videos and he wrote and sang many of these songs himself. Dorough was responsible for such classics as Three is a Magic Number, My Hero Zero and Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here. And while he didn’t sing it, Dorough wrote Conjunction Junction.
The other thing this song is remarkable for is that it’s the first time that Miles worked with saxophonist Wayne Shorter.
And if you don’t want to listen to the holiday music, this particular video has both sides of the single on it. So skip over the first song and listen to the B-side where Miles plays “Devil May Care.”
Welcome back to those of you who skip all that jazz.
We’re in a dead period in baseball right now that’s the result of the owners locking out the players. But before baseball shut down, we had a wild period of free agent signings as teams raced to get their lineups set before the shutdown and players raced to find a team before the winter set in. The Cubs alone landed Marcus Stroman, Yan Gomes and Clint Frazier in just the final two days before the lockout.
A lot of people liked that frenzy of deals before the lockout. I can link you to several articles of people who thought that baseball should try to do that every year, such as this one, this one and this one. (ESPN+ sub. req. on the last one.)
Many have noted that the start of free agency in the NBA and NFL are big events that serve as a promotional period for the sport during the off-season. They also think that baseball could use that kind of off-season juice. So they are suggesting a “dead period” like this every year. This would be a six-to-eight week period from mid-December to early-February where teams could not make any signings. I’m not clear whether or not trades are banned under this scenario, but I would think there would have to be a restriction on all transactions for this “dead period” to work right.
There are some problems with doing this. For one, the reason why free agency is such a frenzy in the NBA and NFL is that those leagues have a salary cap. Free agency is a bit of a game of musical chairs in those leagues and players want to find a new team before the money runs out.
The frenzied signing period this year was also caused by a similar uncertainty. Players and teams wanted to lock in these deals now because they just didn’t know what the baseball landscape would look like when a new collective bargaining agreement was reached. In a year without labor strife, players might not feel such an urge to sign up early, figuring that the same deals would be on the table at the start of Spring Training.
The other problem with this is that it would make things really boring around the holidays. Plus, MLB would have to decide whether or not teams could have contact with players in the dead period. This year, there are specific legal reasons why teams aren’t allowed to have contact with the players. But with a normal CBA in place, there would be a lot of incentive for teams to continue negotiating during the dead period, either openly (if it were allowed) or clandestinely. Teams aren’t allowed to negotiate deals with international amateurs before the opening of the signing period, but in reality all of the best players have come to terms months or even a year ahead of that. It wouldn’t be a dead period if Ken Rosenthal announced that the Nationals and free agent Mr. X will announce a deal as soon as the dead period is over.
So what do you think? Do you think that MLB should try to create some December excitement and create a transactions dead period in the middle of winter? Or would such an artificial dead period just not work?
Of course, if you want to share a specific proposal for a dead period (trades allowed, trades not allowed, no contact in dead period, etc.), by all means do so in the comments.
Should MLB create a transactional "dead period" in the winter to incentivize early deals?
This poll is closed
Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll have someone get your hat and coat. I hope you got yourself warm while you were here—both on the outside and on the inside. Please stop by again tomorrow night when we’ll have another edition of BCB After Dark.