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BCB After Dark: Pick your own path

The late-night dive bar for night owls, early-risers and Cubs fans abroad asks you to put yourself in David Ross’ shoes tonight

Chicago Cubs v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: The last stop for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Thanks again for stopping by. We’ve saved a good table for you. 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.

The Cubs lost 3-2 in ten innings to the Cardinals. If you want to discuss tonight’s loss, you’re free to do so here. Tonight’s baseball question is about tonight’s game as well.

Last night I asked you if you watched the Cubs epic six-run comeback in the top of the ninth to beat the Cardinals on Tuesday. Exactly 33% of you said you didn’t watch the game at all and that makes me wonder how many of you would say that on any given night and not one opposite the NBA Finals. Another 27% said that you started to watch and gave up and never saw the comeback. Then there were 24% who, like me, switched the channel when the Cubs fell behind but changed back in time to see the final inning. The die-hard Cubs fans who watched the entire game was 16% and then we had one lucky reader who was at the game in person.

Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip to the baseball question at the end if you’d like. You won’t hurt my feelings.

I realized that I hadn’t presented any jazz with pianist Herbie Hancock as a bandleader. I’ve had some Hancock pieces when he played with Miles Davis and some others where he was part of a supergroup. But I don’t think I’ve had anything under his own name.

So here’s a piece that is both written and performed by a very young Herbie Hancock. It’s the title track from his 1965 album Maiden Voyage [VIDEO]:

It’s a relaxing number that we all might need after tonight’s loss. It’s also got a pretty impressive cast with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, George Coleman on tenor saxophone, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums. Williams, by the way, was not only a terrific jazz drummer but he also played drums with John Lydon’s (Johnny Rotten) Public Image Ltd. in the 1980s. So equally at home in jazz or punk.

I’m keeping my film essays to Monday nights when I don’t have other things to write and I have time to watch a movie over the weekend. But I try to offer a movie question on Wednesday night/Thursday morning for discussion.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I wasn’t really a guy who watched a lot of old movies before the pandemic. I probably watched more than the average person, because the average person watches none, but I didn’t really make a point of watching lots of them and learning about them. I watched an occasional old movie from time to time, normally when baseball was in the off-season.

But COVID shut down sports for a while and I was stuck at home for long periods of time. I also wasn’t writing for this site, so I had lots of time on my hands and I was looking for something to do. I decided to keep my mind occupied with the consumption of classic films, both foreign and domestic. I was going to see all those old films that I hadn’t gotten around to seeing before.

I also found that watching old movies (or listening to old radio shows, which I also did) kept my mind off the current events of 2020. I don’t know about you, but I had trouble processing the events of the past year and a half without harming my own health. The stress was driving my blood pressure to dangerous territory and that’s not an exaggeration.

So watching old movies is both entertaining and therapeutic to me. When sports returned, it was OK and I did watch, but the empty stadiums was a reminder of the world around me. The old movies kept my blood pressure low and I also think I learned a lot. I subscribed to the Criterion Channel, a pay streaming channel dedicated to the craft of film, specifically to get my mind (and blood pressure) off of the events of 2020. I don’t regret it.

So my question is, did the pandemic change your viewing habits? Did you watch more films or less? Let’s not limit it to movies. Perhaps you binge watched shows on Netflix (or elsewhere) that you normally never would have? Did you discover that you liked something that you never thought you would have liked? I know The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix caused a whole lot of people to take up chess. Did something like that happen to you?

Or maybe you just did something productive and remodeled the bathroom or wrote a novel. But did something help you get through last year?

Welcome back to those who skip the music and movies. Tonight we are going to second-guess David Ross. Because second-guessing the manager is a tradition that dates back to Alexander Cartwright and the early history of baseball.

The Cubs were leading the Cardinals tonight in the top of the seventh inning by a 1-0 score. Kyle Hendricks had obviously pitched well, but he was at 83 pitches through six innings. The Cardinals had been hitting some deep balls to the warning track. He probably had, at most, one inning left in him.

Jason Heyward hit a one-out double and was still standing on second with two outs after Nico Hoerner grounded out to third. That brought Hendricks to the plate and he struck out to end the inning.

Hendricks then came out to pitch the seventh inning and gave up a very questionable infield single to Paul DeJong. The ball certainly looked like it bounced off DeJong’s foot, but the umps missed it and a throwing error by Willson Contreras put DeJong on second base with no outs. Hendricks retired Tommy Edman when he popped up a bunt and failed to advance the runner. But the next batter, Harrison Bader, doubled DeJong home to tie the game.

Here comes the next decision of Ross’s that we’re second-guessing. Hendricks is still at just 90 pitches and Bader’s double was the only hard-hit ball of the inning. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt brought in the switch-hitting Matt Carpenter to pinch-hit and the switch-hitting Dylan Carlson was on deck.

Now Carpenter has hit right-handed pitching better than lefties throughout his career. It’s not a huge statistical difference, but it is a significant one. But if Ross brought in the left-handed Andrew Chafin to pitch to Carpenter, he would have to stay in the game to face Carlson. Carlson doesn’t have a long track record in the majors, but what he does have shows that he is a much, much better hitter hitting right-handed against a lefty.

So Ross brought in Chafin to face Carpenter and he got an easy fly out to center field. But then Carlson, batting right-handed, doubled home Bader and the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead. That meant that the run the Cubs scored in the top of the ninth only tied the game and the Cubs ended up losing in extras.

So what should Ross have done? Should he have pinch-hit for Hendricks and tried to add on an extra run in the top of the seventh? Should he have left Hendricks in to face Carpenter and/or Carlson? Or should he have gone to a right-hander like Ryan Tepera to face Carpenter, knowing that Carpenter is having a crappy season and then Carlson would have to bat left-handed? Or did Ross play this correctly and it just worked out wrong? (That happens sometimes.)

So if you were managing the Cubs, what would you have done?


How would you have managed the Cubs on Wednesday night?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Pinch-hit for Hendricks in the top of the seventh
    (57 votes)
  • 2%
    Brought in a right-hander to face Carpenter and Carlson in the bottom of the inning
    (2 votes)
  • 5%
    Let Hendricks face Carpenter, but bring in a right-hander for Carlson
    (5 votes)
  • 16%
    Let Hendricks finish the inning (or at least until the Cardinals took the lead)
    (16 votes)
  • 20%
    Ross made the right calls, they just didn’t work
    (20 votes)
100 votes total Vote Now

Thanks again for stopping by. We’ll see you again next week.