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BCB After Dark: Breaking the rules

The after hours hot spot for night owls, early risers and Cubs fans abroad returns for a debate on the rules.

San Francisco Giants v Chicago Cubs

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the online speakeasy for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. As always, bring your own beverage.

Remember, BCB After Dark is for everyone to get together and chat about baseball, movies and music. And maybe anything else you can think of. The late-nighters are encouraged to start the conversation, but we’d love everyone else to join the conversation as morning comes and heads on into the afternoon.

Last time I asked you if you thought infielder Eric Sogard would make the Opening Day roster. It was a really tight vote, but 53% of you did think he’d end up going north with the rest of the Cubs and being in the dugout on Opening Day. Maybe I should have also asked if you thought he should make the Opening Day roster, although that’s hard to answer unless you know who is going to be healthy on Opening Day.

Next up is the discussion of jazz and old movies. If you’re not interested in those things, feel free to skip down to the bottom and the poll.

Today’s piece of YouTube jazz comes from The Robert Glasper Trio. I’m not as familiar with contemporary jazz musicians as I should be. It’s not that I don’t like a lot of the jazz done this century: like all music, some of it is very good and some of it is crap. But as I’ve said before, I’m not an expert on jazz. I listen to a lot of it, but I don’t go seeking it out and I don’t spend a lot of time studying it. I’m pretty familiar with the giants who revolutionized the music in the nightclubs from the late 1940s to the late 1960s, but modern jazz artists don’t break into the public consciousness like those older stars did. The exceptions would be those jazz musicians who end up as the sidekick on late-night talk shows, I guess.

But Robert Glasper is a modern jazz musician that I am familiar with. His 2012 genre-bending opus Black Radio won the Grammy for Best R&B Album, which I guess is as good a genre as any to put that piece of art in. That work certainly crosses several musical styles including jazz, soul and hip-hop. Glasper is someone who believes that “jazz is the mother of hip-hop” and incorporates a lot of hip-hop beats into his work. If you’re a fan of alternative hip-hop and you’re looking to expand into jazz, Glasper’s work with the Robert Glasper Experiment is a great place to start.

Glasper’s pieces with the Robert Glasper Trio are much more straight-ahead jazz. Tonight’s selection is Glasper’s version of the Radiohead song “Reckoner.” It fits the “late night” vibe I’m going for and it’s a cover of a song that a lot of people on this site who aren’t familiar with jazz will recognize.

Last time in the comments I mentioned that I should say something about pre-code Hollywood. I’m only going to have enough time here to scratch the surface and maybe we can expand on pre-code later in the season. But for those who don’t know, all of the major Hollywood studios agreed to abide by the rules of the Motion Picture Production Code or the “Hays Code” from 1934 to sometime in the mid-1960s. While the specifics of the Hays Code changed over time, it basically said that there could be no hint of impropriety or immorality on the screen. No nudity, no profanity, no sex. Violence could not be graphically depicted. Criminals had to be punished in the end.

The Code was first adopted by the motion picture industry in 1930 in response to complaints, mainly from the Catholic Church but also from other advocates for public morality, that the movies were a bad influence on young minds. But no one actually enforced the code until mid-1934, so the period of Hollywood films from 1930 to 1934 are often referred to as “pre-code.”

Studios and directors were much freer to do whatever they wanted in the movies in the pre-code era. Sure, there were still obscenity laws on the books and the Supreme Court had ruled in 1915 that film was not protected by the First Amendment, so it’s not like they could just show anything. (That Supreme Court ruling was overturned in 1952 and the movies now have full First Amendment protection.) A modern sex scene that we would see in an R-rated movie today would be banned almost everywhere in the United States as indecent. But the pre-code films were much freer to imply such things than they would be for decades. Double entendres were everywhere and starlets were often seen in their underwear. Films like The Public Enemy and Little Caesar were violent and told the stories of gangsters from their point of view, not that of the police who brought them to justice.

Next time I’ll introduce one of my favorite pre-code films, but one that you may already be familiar with is the 1931 version of Frankenstein. (Many of Universal Pictures’ other monster movies like Dracula are also pre-code.) The famous scene where the monster throws a little girl into the lake would have been in violation of the code and was cut out of later showings of the film. This scene, where Dr. Frankenstein creates his monster, would also have been out of compliance with the code for the line “Now I know what it feels like to be God!,” which would be considered blasphemy.

Finally, this is still a baseball site. Last week MLB announced that they are experimenting with different rules changes in the minor leagues. I outlined all the new rules in that article, but here’s a quick reminder and which leagues will be experimenting with which rule.

Triple-A: Larger bases

Double-A: Infielders feet must be on the dirt/no shifts.

High-A: Pitcher must step off the rubber on a pickoff throw,

Low-A: Only two “free” pickoff throws per plate appearance. (A third pickoff that resulted in an out would not be penalized.)

Low-A Southeast: Automated strike zone or “robot umpires.”

Low-A West: Pitch clock and other timers on dead periods of the game.

I’m going to ask you which rule you most want to see adopted at the MLB level. I’m going to leave out “robot umps” from the poll because I know that most of you are in favor of that eventually. It is clear to me from the previous experiments that the automated strike zone hasn’t been perfected quite yet. But I’m sure it will be adopted once the kinks get ironed out. (We really don’t want breaking balls in the dirt called strikes because they nicked the front outside bottom corner of the zone, for example.)

So which of the other proposed rules would you most like to see at the major league level? Vote and discuss below.


Which rules change would you most like to see MLB adopt in the future?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Larger bases
    (9 votes)
  • 23%
    Limits on infield positioning
    (28 votes)
  • 4%
    Pitchers must step off the rubber on pickoffs
    (5 votes)
  • 6%
    Only 2 pickoff throws per plate appearance.
    (8 votes)
  • 28%
    Pitch clock and other timers
    (34 votes)
  • 7%
    All of them!
    (9 votes)
  • 22%
    None of them!
    (27 votes)
120 votes total Vote Now

See you on Wednesday night/Thursday morning!