Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the happening for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. So glad you could join us for our final show of the week. We’re waiving the cover charge tonight. Two drink minimum, but you have to bring your own beverage. There are still a few seats available. Please sit and enjoy yourself.
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 night I asked one of my favorite questions here: who would win a series between a team of 25 clones of Carlos Zambrano and a team of 25 copies of Ben Zobrist? In the end, the vote was a tie! Exactly the same number of you thought that Zambrano would win as thought Zobrist would win, although the number of games it would take differed. Of all the choices available, the one that got the most votes was “Zambrano in 4” with 25 percent. “Zobrist in 4” was in second place with 21 percent.
I’d say that would make it a good question, but I did get a lower turnout of the poll than I normally get. I don’t know if that’s because people aren’t tuning in because of the lockout or because people just thought the question was so stupid that they refused to vote.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Robert Glasper released Black Radio III two weeks ago, which follows 2012’s Black Radio and Black Radio II in 2013. So it’s like Curb Your Enthusiasm in that new versions they come out whenever the guy in charge feels like it.
The Black Radio albums aren’t exactly jazz, but they’re not exactly not-jazz either. Does that make sense? They works by a jazz artist that incorporate soul, R&B and hip-hop and all three of them feature a ton of big name guest stars. So they’re a kind of fusion, but not the kind of jazz/rock fusion of the 1970s that usually comes to mind when you call something jazz fusion.
Glasper has always maintained that hip-hop is a child of jazz. The Black Radio albums are where he makes the case for that.
This track from Black Radio III features vocals by Esperanza Spalding and Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest. You all know that I think Spalding is one of the giants of contemporary jazz and Q-Tip is a legendary rapper and producer.
So I hope this appeals not only to the jazz fans around here but also to some of the hip-hop fans who don’t normally check out the music here. I hope it doesn’t just turn off both groups as fusion sometimes does. I don’t think it will.
So here’s Robert Glasper with Q-Tip and Esperanza Spalding with “Why We Speak.”
For the movie discussion this week, I thought I’d just throw the floor open to superhero films in honor of the release of The Batman, which seems to be dominating many of the culture sites that I read.
To be clear, I have not seen The Batman. I’ll probably watch it when it comes to HBO Max. Or maybe I won’t. We’ll see.
But since the superhero genre is probably the biggest genre in movie-making these days, I thought I’d open up the floor to let you offer your opinions. We all know what Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese thinks of them, and if you want to see what the controversy is all about, go to that corporate, cross-promotional link.
But what are your opinions of the genre? And what are your favorite superhero movies? Personally, I’m a pretty big sucker for the Marvel movies. I grew up reading Marvel Comics and most of them bring back a lot of nostalgia for me. Even the films that involve characters introduced after I stopped reading them often reference plots from stories that I grew up with. I have no illusions that any of them are high art (although Black Panther probably comes close), but I don’t see how they are any different from Golden Age of Hollywood pictures like The Adventures of Robin Hood or Ivanhoe or The Sea Hawk. No one questions whether or not those films are cinema. The use of CGI is certainly different, but if you don’t think that Michael Curtiz would have used CGI if he could have, you are kidding yourself. Plus, back then no one cared if a stunt killed a horse, so it’s not like we could still do it the way they did it back then. Heck, they barely cared if they killed a stuntman. Buddy Ebsen was nearly killed making The Wizard of Oz because no one bothered to check if the makeup they were using for the Tin Man was toxic or not. (While he was recovering in the hospital, Ebsen was replaced with Jack Haley. They did change the makeup for Haley.)
The DC movies are generally too dark for my tastes—both metaphorically and literally, as I always think they’re trying to save on the lighting budget. But I won’t deny that the first Wonder Woman movie was quite good and I enjoyed the Harley Quinn one as well. Shazam! was kind of fun.
Of course, there’s no need to limit this discussion to recent films or even just Marvel and DC films. I think the Richard Donner 1978 Superman film is rightly considered a classic and so is Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. Then there are superhero films like Hancock or the animated The Incredibles that deserve to be mentioned among the best.
It would be hard for me to pick my favorite superhero movie, although certainly Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame would have to be up there for me. Thor: Ragnarok is a legitimately solid buddy comedy even apart from the superhero genre. The Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man 2 from 2004 is probably the best of the Spider-Man films.
So sound off on the superhero genre. Do you love it, hate it or can take or leave it? And if you’re a fan, tell us your favorites.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.
Lucy pulled the football away from us earlier today when a possible collective bargaining agreement was blown up over a disagreement over an international draft.
Now we don’t know actually how close they were to an agreement and in some ways, these reports seem to echo earlier incidents in the lockout when the owners would leak to friendly reporters (mostly Jon Heyman and Bob Nightengale) that a deal was near and then try to blame the players for it when the deal goes south. As Max Scherzer wrote on Wednesday:
I was in FL. We never offered the Int’l Draft. We did discuss it, but MLB told us they were NOT going to offer anything for it. At that point, we informed all players & agreed to no draft.— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) March 10, 2022
This is MLB muddying the waters & deflecting blame. Fans, pls hang in there with us.
Hall-of-Famer David Ortiz, for his part, said that he wasn’t against an international draft in principle but that the Dominican Republic was in no way ready for it and that it would take several years of preparation for it to happen properly. Ortiz called current players and told them to “strongly oppose” the draft.
Fernando Tatis Jr. also came out against an international draft and without any “maybe sometime down the road” addendum.
The owners, for their part, argue that the current system of signing amateur talent from outside the US and Canada is corrupt. Trainers have been known to insist upon kickbacks from player bonuses and they sometimes encourage kids to take steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. While teams are not supposed to sign amateur players until after they turn 16, there are many instances of teams coming to an “understanding” with kids as young as 12 or 13. Most top players have come to terms with a team before their 15th birthday. which is a rules violation that no one ever enforces.
And you know what? The owners are right about this. The current system of signing foreign players, especially out of Latin America, stinks. The issue is whether or not an international draft would solve them.
The owners insist that under their proposal, an international draft would guarantee more bonus money would go to foreign amateurs. But you’ve got to think that’s more MLB doublespeak. First off, the first, second and third reason for a sports draft is to limit the amount of money that amateur players can earn by allowing them to only negotiate with one team. Besides, why would the owners be asking for something that costs them money?
It’s safe to say that the word “guarantee” is doing a lot of work here, because there’s no “guarantee” that any team will decide to spend money on foreign talent in any given year. With a draft, or at least with the way the draft works for North American players, teams have to offer at least a token bonus offer or the player becomes a free agent. So yeah, I guess it’s a bigger “guarantee,” but you’ve got to believe it would normally be a smaller pot in most years, even with the current “bonus pool” scheme.
Perhaps the biggest fear in places like the Dominican Republic is that teams will pull out their support for the game if there’s a draft. Why hold a team-sponsored showcase event with team-sponsored instruction for 11-to-13 year olds if any team can then draft those kids before you get a chance?
There’s also the example of Puerto Rico, which was added to the regular MLB draft in 1989. Many Puerto Ricans blame the draft for a twenty-year drop in the popularity of baseball on the island that it is only now recovering from.
It should be noted that according to reports, the proposal by the owners on Wednesday would determine a team’s draft pick on a rotating basis, so that every team would get a high draft pick eventually.
The other issue is that the owners are tying the creation of an international draft to the elimination of free agent compensation. So the players are insisting that the owners are demanding this new benefit at the last minute (as Scherzer wrote) and saying they’ll take away something the players thought was already agreed upon if they don’t get it.
It’s fair to say that an agreement on a new CBA should not be derailed by a disagreement on an international draft, but then again, it’s fair to blame both sides on this, unlike what Heyman did in this Tweet:
It makes no sense for the season to be short-circuited by a dispute over the international draft. I get that players thought the concept came up late but it makes no sense players were so influenced to protect the awful current system by David Ortiz and others for no good reason.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 10, 2022
To be fair, Heyman did praise the players’ counteroffer of studying the system for a year and then if no agreement was reached, going back to the old system. The owners rejected that.
So tonight’s question is “Do you think there should be an international draft?” I’m not asking you to weigh in on the specifics of the owners’ proposal or the players’ counteroffer. I’m not asking you to negotiate a CBA. It’s simply “Do you support an international draft in principle?”
There are three answers in this poll. The first is “Yes, in this CBA.” That means you think that MLB should start an international draft sometime in the next two or three years. (Even the owners don’t think they can get one ready for this season.) You don’t have to agree to the owners’ specific proposal or tying it to free agent compensation, but if you were dictating a new CBA to the two sides, you’d put one in.
The second answer is the David Ortiz position: “Yes, but not in this CBA.” That means you think that an international draft is a good idea in theory, but a lot of things that need to happen first and they can’t happen anytime soon. Of course, that leaves open the possibility that those problems will never get fixed and you’re fine with taking that risk.
The third answer is simply “No. Find a different way to fix the problems.” That means you acknowledge that there are issues with the current system, but you don’t think a draft would fix them and that it would only serve to limit the bonus money given to very-poor Latin American teenagers, for the most part.
Should there be an international draft in MLB?
This poll is closed
Yes, in this CBA
Yes, but not in this CBA.
No. Find a different way to fix the problems.
Thank you so much for stopping by. We’ll have someone bring you your hat and coat. Please get home safely. Enjoy the weekend. And join us again next week for another edition of BCB After Dark.