It’s the Wednesday night/Thursday morning edition of BCB After Dark: the speakeasy for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re so happy to see you here for our final show of the week. I hope you’ve been staying warm. If not, please come and warm yourself by the fireplace. There’s no dress code tonight. 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.
Last time we met, I asked you which young star you’d most like to steal for the Cubs. There were four players that got a lot of support, but coming out at number one was the Nationals’ Juan Soto, with 26 percent of the vote. That makes sense as Soto finished second in the National League Most Valuable Player vote last year. Close behind in second was the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with 23 percent. Third place was Wander Franco of the Rays (my choice) with 20 percent and the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. got 18 percent.
Like Al, I’m really sick of talking about the lockout. I’d rather talk about Marcus Stroman too, but we’ve already done that in this space. Several times, in fact.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. Feel free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Today’s jazz concert is a performance by vocalist and pianist Kandace Springs from 2018, along with a big band for German television.
I don’t normally have time to write about two movies a week, although it seems like I have been doing a second essay recently, either on a second movie or like last week when I wrote about Nightmare Alley twice.
But tonight I’m going to throw the floor open to you and ask you to name your favorite spy or espionage films. Tell us what you think of the general thriller sub-genre and which ones appeal to you. Do you like to see James Bond drinking martinis and bedding beautiful women while killing people with ridiculous gadgets and driving cool cars? Or are you into more demure (and realistic) spy films like adaptations of John le Carré novels such as The Spy Who Came In From the Cold or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?
Or maybe you like paranoid seventies conspiracy films like Three Days of the Condor or The Conversation? I’ve got to admit that I’m a fan of both of those films. Also of le Carré films. And several Bond movies. Also The Americans, but that’s a TV show.
I also think the 2015 Paul Feig film Spy, starring Melissa McCarthy, was a terrific spy satire film. As well as being a pretty decent spy film in its own right.
So tell us if you have a favorite Bond film or a favorite Mission Impossible movie. Or Bourne film. Or maybe you like the classics like The Third Man or North By Northwest, which I wrote about recently. Anything you consider a spy or espionage film, let us know if you love it.
Tonight’s question is about the MLB playoffs and how many teams should play in them. The owners have been pushing to expand the playoffs, as that’s where the big TV money is for them. On top of that, they make the argument that the NFL, NBA and NHL all let a lot more teams into their playoffs than MLB does.
On the other hand, MLB has always placed more emphasis on the regular season than those other sports do. There’s also tradition, which baseball fans care about more than fans of any other sport. Many baseball fans only reluctantly accepted the addition of the Wild Card, which allows a team to be crowned champion without even winning their division.
The argument against the Wild Card has sailed, but the owners want to add even more Wild Card teams as part of the collective bargaining talks. The players are reluctant, thinking that if teams could make the playoffs with a .500 record, they’d have less incentive to improve their club through added spending. And if you add too many, it’s only a matter of time until a team with a losing record in the regular season wins the World Series.
So the question I have for you is: What is the ideal number of playoff clubs in your mind? Tell us your reasoning in the comments.
I’m not going to permit you to say “two” and that there should just be the World Series like it was from 1903 to 1968. That’s a bit too old-school for me. I will let you answer “eight,” like it was from 1995 to 2011, even though that’s probably not going to happen ever again.
How many teams should make the playoffs?
This poll is closed
8 (pre-2012 number)
10 (current number)
16 (like in 2020)
That’s all for this week in BCB After Dark. We’re so glad that you could join us and we hope that you stop by again next week. We’ll get your hat and coat for you. Please get home safely. Be kind to others. End the lockout. And don’t be a stranger.