We’re open again here at BCB After Dark: the coolest dive for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. It’s so good to see you again this evening. Come on in out of the cold, rain and snow. We can check you coat for you. There’s no cover charge this evening. We still have a few tables available. Tell the hostess if we can get anything for you. Settle in and relax. 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 week, as we get ready for the fifth edition of the World Baseball Classic, I asked you which country’s cap you’d like to get as a gift. It seems that most of you want to represent the home team as 32 percent of you voted for the good old Team USA cap. In second place was the Clockwork Orange, also known as Team Netherlands, with 11 percent of the vote. Team Israel, the darlings of the last tournament, finished third with nine percent.
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.
Tonight we have some South African jazz courtesy of the Bheki Mseleku Quartet at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1992. This features the late, great Mseleku on piano, Charnett Moffett on double bass, Eddie Parker on flute and Marvin “Smitty” Smith on drums. Now this video is a lot longer than I normally like to feature at almost two hours, so I’ll forgive anyone who doesn’t listen to the end. In point of fact, I’m only about a third of the way through it while I’m writing this. It’s also a copy of a VHS tape, so the picture quality isn’t the best.
However, the music sounds just fantastic. I’m loving it so far, so that’s why I’m featuring it tonight. If you like your jazz hard, fast and loud, this one’s for you.
You voted in the other semifinal of the BCB Winter Noir Classic and Double Indemnity (1944) came out on top over Sunset Boulevard (1950) in the battle of the Billy Wilder-directed classics.
So that brings us to the final contest of our tournament. Could it have been anything else? The number-one seed, the John-Huston directed The Maltese Falcon (1941) takes on the number-two seed, Double Indemnity. The film that is credited with being the first “true” noir faces off against the film whose popularity turned the noir genre into one of the biggest trends of postwar Hollywood.
In case you want to reminisce over all the films in the tournament, here’s the bracket for one last time.
I think I’ve written enough about these two films, although if you still need some help, you can go back and see what I wrote about The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity the last time they were up for a vote. Both films have a lot in common. They both feature some snappy dialog and some great acting, both in the leads and the supporting roles. They both have crime and murder at the heart of the story and one man who uncovers the villains not so much out of a sense of right and wrong and justice, but more out of a sense of professional duty. The difference, of course, is that Humphrey Bogart’s Sam Spade is the lead character of The Maltese Falcon who uncovers the plot. In Double Indemnity, the lead characters, played by Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck, are the ones who commit the crime in front of our eyes. It’s the secondary character, insurance investigator Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) who doggedly uncovers the murder. He does this not so much in the case of justice to the victim, but rather to prevent a case of insurance fraud.
To use some of the terminology of crime television, The Maltese Falcon is more of a “whodunnit” and Double Indemnity is more of a “howcatchem.” Except neither film really cares that much about procedures of the crime to neatly fit in those categories. They are both more-aptly described as portraits of the characters who inhabit the world where these crimes are committed. And that’s what great noir always is.
One last time, here’s the trailer for The Maltese Falcon.
And here’s the trailer for Double Indemnity.
Which film should win the BCB Winter Noir Classic?
The Maltese Falcon or Double Indemnity?
This poll is closed
The Maltese Falcon
You have until Wednesday evening to vote.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.
The big news out of Cubs camp is the oblique injury to Seiya Suzuki that caused him to drop out of the WBC. I don’t really have a question about that except that it may or may not affect the question I had planned anyway. Also, I’m sad about it and just hoping Suzuki will be ready for Opening Day.
But if he isn’t, that’s going to open up another spot on the roster. And tonight’s question is about new Cubs infielder Edwin Ríos.
The Cubs signed Ríos late in the winter, coming to terms on a one-year, $1 million deal on February 17. Tonight’s question is “Will Edwin Ríos make the Cubs Opening Day roster?”
In Ríos’s favor is that he can play all four corner defensive positions, although most of his experience in the outfield comes from his time in the minor leagues. He’s also got some really good left-handed power. Over the past four years with the Dodgers, he’s hit 20 home runs over just 291 plate appearances.
On the downside, Ríos doesn’t hit for much average and he strikes out a lot. Last year, he struck out in a career-high 39 percent of his plate appearances. Now that number is probably a bit inflated by a small-sample-size (he only played in 27 games) and the fact that he was coming off a serious shoulder injury in 2021. But the plain fact is that over the course of his career, Ríos has a strikeout percentage of 32 percent and a career batting average of .219.
(Ríos also suffered a hamstring pull last year that ended his major league season in June, although he did play the final two months of the season in Triple-A and he was pretty good there, hitting .259/.339/.492 in 48 games after the injury.)
On top of that, while Ríos can play all four corner positions, it’s not like he’s all that good at any of them. He’s okay at third base and probably below-average at the other three.
Ríos also has the problem that there are a lot of players in camp who are competing for a job at third base and he still has one minor league option left. So he definitely could be a victim of a numbers game, but the injury to Suzuki might open up another spot for him. Especially since manager David Ross has talked about moving Patrick Wisdom to right field if Suzuki can’t play at the start of the year. There’s also the possibility that Wisdom and Rios form a left/right platoon at third base. But David Bote, Nick Madrigal, Miles Mastrobuoni, Zach McKinstry and Christopher Morel can all play third base too. (Well, the jury’s still out on Madrigal. We already did that question around here.)
So I know it’s early, but we need something to talk about. Will Edwin Ríos make the Cubs’ Opening Day 26-man roster?
Does Edwin Ríos make the Cubs’ Opening Day roster?
This poll is closed
Thank you to everyone who stopped by tonight. We couldn’t do this all without you. Well, we could, but we wouldn’t because what would be the point? Please stay warm and dry out there. Get home safely. Tip the waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow night for more BCB After Dark.