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BCB After Dark: Before the dawn

The cool club for night owls, early-risers and Cubs fans abroad asks if you think Rafael Ortega can be a valuable player going forward.

Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins
Target Field
Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the jazz club for night-owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Come in out of the storm. Bring your own bottle. Make yourself at home. You probably are home anyway. The hostess will seat you shortly.

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.

Tonight, the Cubs lost to the Brewers, 10-0. We shall not speak of this again.

Last time, I asked you two questions about Cubs rookie left-hander Justin Steele, who had just made his first major-league start. On the first question, 65% of you gave Steele a solid “B” for performance in Tuesday afternoon’s game. Another 26% gave him a “C” and 5% gave him an “A.”

But you’re more enthusiastic about Steele’s chances going forward. Fully 86% of you thought that Steele can settle down into a regular role in the Cubs starting rotation for this year and next year at least.

Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. Feel free to skip to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings. But I will tell my therapist what you did.

I don’t have anything as awesome as the clip I had of Bud Powell in a small Paris club that I had yesterday, although there is at least one other Bud Powell clip like that on YouTube and I’ll save it for another night.

Tonight I’m sharing a 2017 clip of bassist Dave Holland. Holland played with Miles Davis on In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew back in the late-sixties and still is playing today. His Big Band recordings are a way of doing a modern spin on the big band sounds of the 1940s.

I only do one movie essay a week with the minor league season keeping me so busy, but I do like to throw out a movie question for discussion on Wednesday nights/Thursday mornings.

I’m stealing today’s question from Twitter, where someone asked people to name a movie that they’ve seen five times or more. I’m not going to ask you to respond with a gif or a picture, words are just fine. I always find it depressing that civilization spent 3000 years developing a written language with a written alphabet and in 20 years we tossed it all out in favor of communicating with each other through clips from The Simpsons.

As for myself, I can think of several movies that I’ve seen at least that many times. I don’t think I’ve seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show in a decade, but in high school a group of us went every Saturday night for a year or so. I’m not sure that counts, however, as we went for the party in the theater more than the movie. (And to answer your question, no one cared that it was an R-rated film and we weren’t 17.) That was a long time ago.

I’m sure I’ve seen The Godfather and The Godfather II at least five times. I know I’ve seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python and the Life of Brian many more than five times each. I’ve seen the first six Star Trek films (the ones with the original cast) at least five times. Well, maybe not Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. That one is tough to get through.

Have I seen the Star Wars pictures five times? Maybe the first one and The Empire Strikes Back. That was a long time ago. The ones after that have left me with little reason to watch them multiple times.

Then there are the movies that I watch around holidays. I mentioned 1776 during the Fourth of July week. I used to watch Bad Santa every Christmas day after having seen It’s a Wonderful Life every Christmas for years. You can probably guess which film I usually watch on Groundhog Day.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is another film I’ve seen at least five times. There are probably some Marvel movies I’ve seen five times, but I can’t think of which ones. Probably Infinity War and Endgame.

Does sitting with my then-preschool daughter while she watched Frozen again and again count?

Anyway, the purpose of this discussion is what movie do you always stop to watch when you get the chance. What movie do you love so much that you’d watch it five times or more.

Welcome back to those of you who skip the jazz and the movies. Today’s question was something I was thinking of saving for a separate article, but I only have so many ideas in me and I need one now.

The first season that I wrote a Minor League Wrap full time was 2008. The Cubs had signed 30-year-old journeyman outfielder Andres Torres to a minor league deal the previous winter. Torres was one of the best players on the I-Cubs that year, but in case you’ve forgotten, the 2008 Cubs were pretty good and there was no room on the major league roster for him. He left as a free agent after the season and signed with the San Francisco Giants for 2009.

The 2009 Giants were good, but not quite as good as the 2008 Cubs and Torres quickly found himself in the majors again. He had a good year in 2009 and then a fantastic year in 2010. The Giants won their first World Series in San Francisco that year and the 32-year-old Torres had the second-highest bWAR on the team. Torres only had a couple of good seasons before suffering a series of injuries that would lead to the end of his career, but he was pretty good before that.

The reason why I bring this up is that the Cubs signed a 30-year-old journeyman outfielder named Rafael Ortega to a minor league deal this past off-season. But unlike Torres, the 2021 Cubs had room for Ortega on the major league roster and he’s made the most of it. After tonight’s game, Ortega is hitting .331/.382/.517 in 59 games this year. He also has six home runs after having hit just three in his entire major league career before this season.

As I mentioned, Ortega is 30 years old already. He’s probably not a long term solution. But if you go by bWAR, Ortega is having the fourth-best season of anyone currently on the Cubs.

Is this just a fluke, or is Ortega a guy worth keeping around for a few years? If the Cubs are surprising contenders next season (and we don’t know what the off-season will look like, so don’t laugh), can Ortega be an important player in that? Or could he be someone who have a great first-half next year and bring something back at the deadline?

Or maybe you think the clock is going to strike midnight and he’ll turn back into a pumpkin.

So what is your opinion of Rafael Ortega’s future for 2022 or possibly beyond?


Rafael Ortega’s career going forward over the next year or two?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    (72 votes)
  • 6%
    (8 votes)
  • 35%
    (44 votes)
124 votes total Vote Now

We’ll see you again next week at BCB After Dark.