Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the late-night after party for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re so glad that you stopping in this evening. Come in out of the cold and join us in some holiday season cheer. There’s a fire roaring and there are still a few good tables available. Let us know if we can do anything for you. The drinks are flowing, if you brought 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 week I asked you which deal for a free-agent pitcher would you rather have: the Cubs’ four-year, $68 million deal for Jameson Taillon or the Phillies’ four-year, $72 million deal with Taijuan Walker? In the end, the vote wasn’t close at all as 79 percent of you thought the Cubs did better than the Phillies. I wonder if those numbers wouldn’t be reversed on a Phillies website. Maybe. Maybe not. No one is harder on the Phillies than their fans.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
‘Tis the season for holiday jazz and to those of you who are tired of that already, I’m sorry. I hope tonight’s video is different enough for you that it doesn’t remind you of every other song you’ve already heard.
This is a version of “Winter Wonderland,” performed by pianist Jon Batiste on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert back in 2017, back when Batiste was still the musical director of that show.
This performance is really remarkable for the range of feelings that Batiste brings out. It starts out a bit melancholic, but once he starts singing it evolves into something quite playful and joking in the middle. Then he returns to a slightly sad tone before giving us a musical wink at the end to let us know that everything is going to turn out alright.
We’re two matchups into our BCB Winter Noir Classic and after the big upset in the first contest, form held in the second one as the eighth-seed Laura (1944) romped over 25th-seed The Hitch-Hiker (1953) with 68 percent of the vote.
Tonight’s matchup pits two of the biggest pin-up girls of the forties off against each other with Rita Hayworth in the title role of Gilda taking on Ava Gardner in The Killers. Both films are from 1946, with The Killers premiering about five months after Gilda.
Gilda (1946): Directed by Charles Vidor. Starring Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford and Charles Macready. Hayworth, in the title role, plays one of the all-time great femme fatales in movie history. Ford plays Johnny, a small-time gambler who finds himself working for a South American casino owner (Macready). When his boss returns from a vacation married to Gilda, an old flame of Johnny’s, the emotional ménage à trois begins. The casino is also threatened by some arrangements with some German mobsters who want their money now that the war is over. Gilda was also a very risqué film by 1946 standards. (Which means it isn’t one by today’s standards, just so we’re clear.)
Here’s the trailer for Gilda.
The Killers (1946): Directed by Robert Siodmak. Starring Edmond O’Brien, Ava Gardner, and introducing Burt Lancaster. The film that made both Gardner and Lancaster stars. (It was Lancaster’s film debut and Gardner’s first big role.) The Killers is based on a Ernest Hemingway short story and it was reportedly one of the few—maybe the only—film adaptation of his work that Hemingway really approved of. O’Brien plays Jim, an insurance investigator who needs to find the beneficiary of a policy taken out by “The Swede,” (Lancaster) a boxer who was murdered by two hitmen (one of them played by William Conrad!) at the beginning of the film. Told through flashbacks, Gardner is the femme fatale who crossed paths with both the mysterious “Swede” and the insurance investigator. Will Jim find the beneficiary and figure out why “the Swede” left them the money? Or will the hitmen catch up to him first?
You have until Wednesday night/Thursday morning’s edition to vote. I also realized that it might be a good idea to tell you the next noir contest to look forward to, and that evening we’ve got a couple of late-fifties classics to compare. Director Alexander Mackendrick’s tawdry tale of a gossip columnist and a publicist, Sweet Smell of Success (more Burt Lancaster!) from 1957, will face off against Robert Wise’s 1959’s classic heist film with a moral about racism, Odds Against Tomorrow.
Gilda or The Killers?
This poll is closed
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.
There were a pair of free agent signings earlier today—or yesterday, depending on when you read this. One of them is of particular interest to Cubs fans as the Twins agreed to a three-year, $30 million deal with catcher Christian Vázquez. Vázquez had been linked to the Cubs by rumor, but it was always clear that the Cubs were not the only team pursuing him. Clearly the Twins were also in the hunt and today they landed the catcher. The Cubs clearly need another catcher and tonight there’s one fewer catcher available. (Well, two fewer with the Sean Murphy trade, but we’re not going to examine that one tonight. Trades aren’t as straightforward as free agent signings.)
The other big deals came as former Mets right-hander Chris Bassitt signed a three-year, $63 million deal with the Blue Jays. I hadn’t head of Bassitt being attached to the Cubs, but the Cubs are clearly in the market for one more starter and Bassitt fits the bill there as one of the better pitchers still on the market.
So tonight’s question is: Should the Cubs have beaten either offer? Should either one of these players be signing with the Cubs tonight, or were they right to let them go? Or maybe they should have signed both players?
I should add that Bassitt declined a qualifying offer, so there is a loss of a draft pick attached to signing him.
Should the Cubs have beaten either of these offers?
This poll is closed
Yes, Christian Vázquez’s 3 year/$30m offer
Yes, Chris Bassitt’s 3 year/$63m offer
Yes, both of them!
No, neither one.
Thank you all so much for stopping by on this cold night. I hope we’ve brightened your evening as much as you’ve brightened ours. If you checked anything, we can get that for you now. If you need us to call a ride for you, let us know. As always, get home safely. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.