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BCB After Dark: Looking for hope

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks who is making you optimistic right now.

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Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the coolest spot on the hottest nights for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’ve got an open door tonight and everyone is welcome to join us. Come on in and cool off. There are still a few good tables available, so please seat yourself. 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.

The Cubs won their fourth-straight series tonight when they beat the Brewers, 2-1. I’ve been waiting to break out Judy Garland for the first time this year for a while now. I think beating the Brewers with Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader pitching in Milwaukee counts. Especially since it means the Cubs won their fourth-straight series.

I was going to use Judy when the Cubs snapped their ten-game losing streak, but they did that on a Friday when I don’t have After Dark and by the time Monday rolled around, the Cubs were losing again.

Last night I asked you who should be first in line to get a start now that Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills have gone down with injuries. Fifty-one percent of you want to see more of the prospect Caleb Kilian in that role. Mark Leiter Jr. was second with 29 percent. Leiter is going to get the start in game one of the series at Dodger Stadium, but there does seem to be two openings. Maybe Kilian will get the next one.

Here’s the part where I write about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.

It’s been a while since I’ve played any Kandace Springs, so here she is in her hometown of Nashville singing “As Time Goes By.” There is no indication that Humphrey Bogart told her to sing it for him. In fact, I’d bet against it since Bogart was dead long before Springs was born.

Playing with Kandace is Kirk Whalum on sax, Lori Mechum on piano, Roger Spencer on bass and Marcus Finnie on drums.

And you thought they only had country music in Nashville.

I’m going on vacation next week. Of course, writers for BCB don’t actually get vacations, so I’ll still be doing these pieces next week. But they are going to be shorter. I probably won’t be writing about movies next week, but I’d love it if you all discussed them on your own in the comments.

Just before I shut down the film section here for a while, I re-watched Taylor Hackford’s 1987 documentary Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll about Chuck Berry and the concert in St. Louis put on for his sixtieth birthday in 1986. This film is famous not just for the tremendous concert that serves as the heart of the film, but for the way Berry and the show’s musical director Keith Richards clashed. Mostly because Chuck Berry’s music is very important to Keith Richards and how by 1986, it just wasn’t all that important to Berry anymore.

They say you should never meet your idols, but for Richards. it was more of a case of “never work with your idols.” Richards even admits at one point that Berry was more of a pain to work with than Mick Jagger. Still, he makes it clear that no matter what, he still loves the man and his music. For all the problems he had with the show, Richards still thinks it was a success and was glad he did it.

And beyond the concert, which features a superstar band of the 1980s, the film is really better at showing the impact that Berry had on others than about Berry himself. For the most part, this is because Berry had no intention of really letting anyone know much about him. He gives some basic information about growing up in St. Louis, the discrimination he faced and about getting his start in the music business. But beyond that, he’s not really interested in talking about anything else. Certainly not the way people ripped him off or the time he spent in prison. He doesn’t say much about the people in his life. They’re willing to talk about him, but you get the sense that even the people who were closest to Berry did not know him very well.

Richards’ biggest frustration is that the songs of Chuck Berry meant so much to him and they just didn’t mean much to Berry anymore beyond being a source of income. Richards wanted this all-star band because he was disappointed with Berry’s normal modus operandi since the mid-sixties, which was to travel to a gig with nothing but a guitar and to just play with whatever musicians were there at the next town. He didn’t rehearse or even show up earlier than five minutes before showtime. Bruce Springsteen tells of when he played backup for Berry in the early 1970s. Berry shows up late and goes to the stage without saying much of anything to the band. Springsteen asked him what songs they were going to play and Berry just said “Chuck Berry songs.” He had no set list and just expected the local musicians to just pick up what song he was playing a few bars into it.

Richards hated that for obvious reasons. That wasn’t the way that these beautiful songs should be heard. But Berry didn’t care how they sounded as long as he got paid in cash in advance. He’s so detached from what is going on that after Julian Lennon comes on stage and sings “Johnnie B. Goode” with Chuck and the Band, Berry goes up to him and says “Say ‘hi’ to your pop for me.” What? I mean, he must have know John was dead, right? Or did he? What did that mean?

The film is fascinating for those reasons, as well as the interviews with Richards, Springsteen, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers and others about their experiences with Berry and what his music meant to them. And the show is still pretty great despite Berry. And it’s pretty great because of Berry as well.

Welcome back to all of you who skip the music and movies. You’ll have less to skip next week. Miserable old buzzards can skip this section as well. Or maybe just put aside your nature for a while.

After a pretty miserable stretch of games in May and June, the Cubs have looked a lot better over the past few weeks. I don’t know if that’s making you more optimistic, but it’s making me optimistic.

So I’m going to ask you who on the Cubs is making you the most optimistic? Inspired by this article by Sahadev Sharma in The Athletic, let’s just look on the bright side of the Cubs right now.

By “optimistic,” I mean which player makes you most believe that better days are ahead for the Cubs. But I guess you can define that however you want. It’s not like I’m going to check.

So who is making you optimistic right now?


Which Cubs’ player is making you the most optimistic for the future right now?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Ian Happ
    (1 vote)
  • 18%
    Nico Hoerner
    (33 votes)
  • 32%
    Christopher Morel
    (58 votes)
  • 8%
    Justin Steele
    (15 votes)
  • 22%
    Seiya Suzuki
    (40 votes)
  • 14%
    Keegan Thompson
    (26 votes)
  • 1%
    Nelson Velázquez
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Patrick Wisdom
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (0 votes)
178 votes total Vote Now

I’m so glad you stopped by to visit with us this week. Please get home safely. Tip your waitstaff. Tell your friends about us. And join us again next week for another edition of BCB After Dark.