Grab your favorite beverage and join us again for BCB After Dark: The afterparty for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. So glad to see you here.
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 in to the afternoon.
Before we get started with the normal routine of jazz, movies and baseball, I have an television alert that may interest you. I’m told that “House Hunters” is a popular show on the HGTV channel that brings in realtors and a camera crew to help people buy a new house. One of the people who have told me that is my wife, and I take her word for things.
Normally I don’t watch “House Hunters,” but an episode tonight (Tuesday Night) caught my eye. The episode is entitled “Long Distance Dilemma in Des Moines.” The description of the episode is:
A woman relocates to buy a home and begin a new life with her boyfriend in Des Moines, Iowa. She’s looking for a contemporary condo with modern touches, but he prefers a large single-family house with a basement and fenced-in yard for his dog.
And who is that lucky boyfriend that Tessa Chen is moving to Des Moines for? It’s none other than Iowa Cubs broadcaster Alex Cohen! If you’ve ever met Alex, you know that he’s a pussycat, so it will be interesting to see what kind of a totally-unreasonable-man edit they give him on the show. You should all tune in tonight at 9 pm Central on HGTV to see Alex and Tessa in action, if only in order to give him grief on Twitter for years to come.
Last time I asked you who would finish the 2021 season as the Cubs closer, and a full 61% of you felt that Craig Kimbrel would be healthy and effective enough to keep the job all year long! That’s a lot of confidence on your part. It’s either that or you’re all so pessimistic that you think everyone else will stink even worse than Kimbrel.
Second place in the voting was Brandon Workman, with 18% of the vote.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. As always, you can just skip to the bottom if that doesn’t interest you. You’re not going to hurt my feelings.
Last time, I brought up Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue album, which is certainly in the conversation for the greatest jazz album of all time. Heck, it’s often mentioned among the greatest pieces of American music ever, the praise for that album is so great. But that got me thinking that I could do a quick tour of some of the greatest jazz albums of all time. Some of them I’m going to have to skip over because they don’t fit in with the “late night” vibe I’m going for in the music selections, but the advantage to a tour of the canon of jazz greats is that it’s something I’m at least familiar with. As I’ve said many times, I’m just a jazz fan, not a jazz scholar.
If you’re familiar with any piece of Brazilian jazz/samba/Bossa Nova music, it’s the 1964 international smash “The Girl from Ipanema,” sung by Astrud Gilberto on the album by her then-husband and Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto and American saxophonist Stan Getz. Brazilian Bossa Nova was experiencing a wave of popularity in the US (and elsewhere) in the early sixties and many jazz artists saw incorporating Bossa Nova as a way of holding off the popularity of that newfangled rock and roll that all the kids were listening to. So Getz decided to collaborate on an album with João Gilberto and the resulting album, Getz/Gilberto is certainly on the list of jazz works that even a casual jazz fan should be familiar with.
As the story goes, Getz and João Gilberto were recording the song “The Girl from Ipanema” in New York when someone thought that if the song had English lyrics and a female singer, it had the possibility of being a hit in America. The only Brazilian woman there who could speak English passably was João’s young wife Astrud. Although she wasn’t a trained singer, she gave it a go and the result was one of the greatest vocal performances in jazz history.
I’m assuming that most of you are familiar with “Ipanema,” although if you’re not, you can click on the link I provided above to see a performance. So instead I’m featuring a different song that Astrud sang on that album, “Corcovado.”
As far as movies go this week, I finally got around to watching Nomadland. I mention this just so you don’t think that I only watch movies that are eighty years old. (I only mostly watch movies that are eighty years old.) I don’t have a lot of thoughts on the film—it struck me as a kind of modern, class-conscious On The Road for the 21st Century. It was certainly extremely well-made and I understand why it’s the favorite to win most of the Academy Awards this year. But I also kind of felt that the film wasn’t really for me. The romance of the road is not something that resonates with me very much. It’s about a woman for whom her independence is pretty much everything to her, and the road and the American West give her the freedom she seeks. But that’s not my view of life, even though I can appreciate the beauty of that life as it’s presented by director Chloé Zhao.
Still, not every movie needs to be made for me. I will have no issues if it walks away with all those funny little statues of the man in gold.
I also watched director Fritz Lang’s Ministry of Fear, a 1944 movie based on a Graham Greene novel which I haven’t read but I’ve been reasonably convinced that the film diverts from the book in a great many ways. Lang made two of the greatest movies of all time, Metropolis and M, before the Nazis forced him flee Germany for Hollywood. (Technically the Nazis offered to put him in charge of the entire German film industry, but he knew what kinds of films he’d have to make under Hitler and wanted no part of it.) His Hollywood films are generally quite good, but none of them live up to the standards he set back in Germany.
Ministry of Fear is like that. Good, but not a classic. It’s about a British man (Ray Milland) who gets out of an asylum during World War II and gets accidentally caught up in a Nazi spy ring in London.
Here’s the trailer for the picture.
As you can see, the film has Lang’s trademark menacing camera angles and lighting that heighten the drama. Much of the modern language of cinema was invented by Lang and cinematographer Karl Freund, who worked with Lang on Metropolis. But he just didn’t work inside the studio system as well as he did back in Germany. Still, as I said, most of Lang’s American work, at least the stuff that I’ve seen, is quite good. They just aren’t masterpieces.
Welcome back to all the baseball fans who skipped ahead. The only question on the minds of Cubs fans right now is the fate of Anthony Rizzo, the longest serving current Cub and one of the most popular Cubs players of all time. Rizzo told his agents that he didn’t want to negotiate a new contract during the season and that he’d play this year with the expectation that he’d be a free agent this upcoming winter. He did leave some wiggle room in there by saying that if the Cubs came close to his final demand that he’d accept it, but he was done with negotiations.
The Cubs reportedly offered Rizzo a five-year deal for around $70 million. That seems pretty light compared to the $130 million over five years that the Cardinals gave Paul Goldschmidt before the 2019 season. Rizzo is probably willing to accept less than what Goldschmidt got, but not that much less.
So the question today is simple. “Will Anthony Rizzo be a Cub in 2022?” Yes or no. Just two answers. Not too much to think about.
Will Anthony Rizzo play for the Cubs in 2022?
This poll is closed
That’s all for tonight. Be sure to catch Alex Cohen later today and I’ll see you again Wednesday night/Thursday morning on the eve of Opening Day.