Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the night spot for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re so happy that you could join us on this rainy evening. Come on in out of the rain. Wipe your feet. If you’ve got an umbrella, we can check that. There are a few good tables still available. 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.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 were rained out tonight in Baltimore. That’s less depressing than the night before.
Last night I asked you if you thought Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki needs to get more aggressive at the plate. With 39 percent of the vote, you thought that we don’t have a big enough sample size to know the answer to that, but you think it’s possible. Another 35 percent of you think the Cubs should let Seiya be Seiya.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. Feel free to skip to the baseball question at the end if you wish. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Tonight we’ve got a selection from saxophonist Hank Mobley, who is one of the most underrated jazz artists of his era. He was called the “middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone,” by which it was meant that he didn’t have an aggressive style like John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins nor a laid-back style like Stan Getz or Lester Young. The term was intended as praise and not an insult, but it ended up being a backhanded compliment anyway. He was neither fish nor fowl, which caused him to be overlooked. He got a big break in 1961 when he replaced Coltrane in Miles Davis’ group, but despite some fine work on Davis’ Someday My Prince Will Come, he and Davis never really gelled and he quickly left.
This is Mobley’s own composition “Dig Dis,” from his 1960 album Soul Station. This record is generally considered Mobley’s best and is a classic of post-bop jazz.
So with Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Art Blakey on drums, here’s “Dig Dis.”
On Wednesday night/Thursday morning I try to throw things open in the comments about whatever films you want to talk about.
For my birthday last week, I got the complete collection of Daniel Craig James Bond films on 4K Blu-ray discs. I’m not a huge James Bond fan, but I figured that they’d look great in 4K and they’ll probably be fun. I’ve only seen Casino Royale and Skyfall among the five of them already and I liked them, although I don’t remember a ton about either one.
Before I go on, do you want me to write an essay about the Bond films as I watch them this summer? I’ve been avoiding 21st Century films because I don’t think you need me telling you about them, but if you want me to, I can certainly say something about them. It would probably make my job easier.
But with the Bond series, I thought I’d ask you about what your favorite movie series are. The James Bond films date back to 1962, which I think makes it the longest film series in history. It helps that they’re all (mostly) unconnected to each other, so there’s no need to watch them in any order.
As I said, I like Bond movies but I’m not a huge fanatic. I’ve seen all the Sean Connery ones, of course, but the ones I’ve seen since then are hit and miss. (OK, I’ve seen all the George Lazenby ones too.) They have a certain charm to them and they’re not supposed to be anything other than an enjoyable romp, although scholars have certainly picked them apart for their role in things like defining masculinity or our attitudes towards extralegal violence and stuff like that.
I’ve made it clear that I’m a sucker for the Marvel movies. Yes, I know they can be formulaic, but that’s because that formula works and they’re able to shake up the setting just enough to keep them from being too similar. I’m not a big Star Wars fan, although I was as a kid. I haven’t even seen the final two films in the third trilogy. I’ve always been a bigger Star Trek fan, and the six films with the cast of The Original Series have always been among my favorites. (Except for “V: The Final Frontier” of course. That one is bad.)
Martin Scorsese seems to think movie franchises are a new thing, but they date back to the early days of film. I’m not real familiar with the silent serials, but they’re a form of movie franchise. (I loved the French silent serial Les Vampires, which is the basis of the current HBO series Irma Vep, if you’ve checked that out.)
There were the Golddiggers series of films and the Andy Hardy films with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in the 1930s. The detective series of the Classic Hollywood period—The Thin Man, Charlie Chan and Sherlock Holmes films—were the precursor of the modern television series. There were the Mexican Spitfire series in the 1940s and a Francis the Talking Mule series of films. There were a series of Planet of the Apes films in the 1970s. There are a lot of other ones as well. (I don’t really consider the Godfather films to be a series, although if you disagree I’m willing to listen to you plead your case.)
So tell us what film series that you love and why. Are you a big Star Wars fanatic? Love the Bond films? The Fast and the Furious? Air Bud? Or something else? Let us know.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.
Tonight we’re talking about the minor league again and specifically, a pair of center fielders who we all hope are future stars on the Cubs.
Coming in to the 2022 season, Brennen Davis was the undisputed top prospect in the Cubs system. He was coming off a terrific 2021 season and an MVP performance in the Futures Fame. He reached Triple-A and did well there in a short stint. He was generally considered one of the top 20 prospects in all of baseball. He was ranked 16th on both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, for example.
This year hasn’t been as promising for Davis. He struggled at Triple-A in April and then went on the injured list in mid-May. Now it’s come out that Davis underwent back surgery in early-June. There was a lot of good news coming out of that surgery in that the worst-case scenarios were avoided, but back surgery is never good news. . Maybe Davis returns in September. Maybe he’s out for the season. Either way, he’s not going to make his major league debut this year like we had hoped and it’s going to be a lost year of development.
Meanwhile, Pete Crow-Armstrong is the new darling of farm system. When he came over from the Mets in the Javier Báez deal, the word was that he was a terrific defensive center fielder with good speed. His bat was more of a question mark and no one thought he’d hit for much power. Maybe 10 to 15 home runs a year in a best-case scenario.
This year, PCA (as he’s called) has been mocking those who said he didn’t have much power potential. He has nine home runs already in 188 at-bats and that’s despite playing most of his home games at a terrible power park in Myrtle Beach. He hit .354/.443/.557 in 38 games in Low-A before his promotion to High-A South Bend. He’s only hitting .233 since his arrival there, but it is also only seven games and he’s got two home runs in those seven games.
By the way, the scouting reports on Crow-Armstrong’s defense were right on. He looks like he could be a Gold Glove center fielder.
So who is your current pick for the top prospect in the Cubs organization? In the most-recent Baseball America Top 100 prospects list that was updated just last week, Davis was ranked as the 40th-best prospect in baseball and PCA was ranked 47th. That’s close enough that honest people could disagree on who is better. Davis may be out for the year, but PCA missed almost all of last year with a torn labrum. Both have had injury issues in their career.
Both are good defenders, but Crow-Armstrong covers a lot more ground. Both have good arms, but Davis is probably a bit better. Davis certainly has more power, but PCA seems to be better at making contact and putting the ball in play.
Which player would you make the Cubs number one prospect? Or would you pick someone else?
Who is the Cubs’ top prospect right now?
This poll is closed
Someone else (leave in comments)
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you could dry out a little while you were here. Please make it home safely. Tip your waitstaff. And stop by again next week when we’ll have another edition of BCB After Dark.