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BCB After Dark: Who’s on top in the Central?

The afterparty for night owls, early-risers and Cubs fans abroad asks who will win the NL Central pennant in 2021.

Houston v Reds
Great American Ballpark
Photo by: Jerry Driendl/Getty Images

Welcome to a special Thursday night/Friday morning edition of BCB After Dark: the classy joint for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Please seat yourself. There are plenty of good tables still available. 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.

This is a special edition of BCB After Dark after the site issues we had on Tuesday night. There was no game today so there’s nothing to complain about. If you want to complain about South Bend’s six-game losing streak, be my guest.

Last night I asked you which team was going to win the NL West. The winner, with 51% of the voter, are the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The Padres got 35% and the Giants, currently with a 2½ game lead in the division, only got support from 12%. One of you Nostradamuses picked the Rockies, which I can only assume was a joke, a troll or someone with a whole lot of faith. It could also be someone just clicked on the wrong button. But man, that would be one heck of a story.

Here’s the point where I talk about jazz and old movies. Feel free to skip ahead to the baseball stuff at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.

I’m going to keep it simple tonight because I don’t really have the time to go into the kind of depth on a jazz cut that I normally like to. Because the dirty secret is that I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz off the top of my head. I usually have to go look up encyclopedias or other sources so that I can sound like I know what I’m talking about. Except that I haven’t really made that a secret.

So I’m just going to present this classic of Billie Holiday singing “These Foolish Things.” [VIDEO] I haven’t had a Holiday tune yet and I imagine at least some of you have never heard her sing. Holiday has a terrific backing band here, with Oscar Peterson on piano, Ray Brown on bass, Barney Kessel on guitar and Alvin Stoller on drums. But anytime Holiday opens her mouth, she’s always going to be the center of attention. Her voice was like no one else’s.

Instead of talking about a movie, I thought I’d ask you a question that you can answer in the comments. Is there a movie that everyone thinks is a classic but you hate? I think everyone has one of those.

For me, it’s Field of Dreams. I suppose “hate” might be too strong a word for my feelings toward Field of Dreams, but I find it to be sentimental nonsense. I get that they’re going for the “magical realism” and I can accept that, but they don’t do it well. I don’t care about Ray, I don’t care about his relationship with his father and I don’t understand why we’re supposed to care about Shoeless Joe Jackson. Just because Ray’s dad cared about him? That’s is an odd ballplayer to care about.

Also, the decision to change the notoriously-litigious, still-alive and white J.D. Salinger to a fictitious Black writer and have said Black writer deliver a speech about how “baseball is the one thing that unites us” is really tone-deaf. Because every one of those old-time baseball players were playing in a sport that was absolutely divided by race. And here’s a supposedly-great Black writer that seems oblivious to that.

Maybe I need to watch it again and maybe I’d find more to like in it. But then I’d have to spend a couple of hours watching Field of Dreams and life is too short for that.

Anyway, I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the film and maybe my dislike isn’t as uncommon as I like to think. My wife absolutely hates Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She notes (correctly) that it’s nothing but children being horribly tortured and killed for minor infractions. But it has Gene Wilder in it, so I don’t think it can be all bad.

So what about you? What seemingly universally-popular film do you really dislike?

I said I’d let you weigh in on the NL Central this week, just a little over one month into the season. Right now the Cardinals are in first, followed by the Brewers, Reds, Cubs and Pirates. I was hoping the Cubs would win a game or two in Cleveland to make them a more attractive candidate, but it wasn’t to be.

In truth, none of the five teams in the Central look to be very good this year. Or even just “good.” But sometimes all a team needs is to get into the playoffs and then get hot in October. That could be any of these five teams.

So who’s your choice to win the NL Central?


Who will win the NL Central in 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Chicago Cubs
    (19 votes)
  • 0%
    Cincinnati Reds
    (0 votes)
  • 15%
    Milwaukee Brewers
    (14 votes)
  • 2%
    Pittsburgh Pirates
    (2 votes)
  • 61%
    St. Louis Cardinals
    (57 votes)
92 votes total Vote Now

We’ll see you again next week.