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BCB After Dark: Last man in the pen

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks who should be the last guy in the bullpen

New York Mets v Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

It’s Wednesday night at BCB After Dark: the swingin’ spot for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. So glad you could join us this fine spring evening. We’re having a bit of a celebration tonight. So come on in and join us. There’s no cover charge. We still have a few good seats 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.

Last night, I asked you who would finish with the better record in 2023, the Cubs or the Brewers? Whether it was hometown optimism or a reaction to the Cubs’ busy winter and the Brewers’ relatively quiet winter, you picked the Cubs by a margin of 66 percent to 34 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’s selection is singer Jazzmeia Horn performing Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” in 2018. This version isn’t the equal of Gaye’s version because. . . .well, obviously that would be impossible. But I do find this to be a good version and I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

This has Julius Rodriguez on piano, Endea Owens on bass and Henry Conerway III on drums.

Our 26-team BCB Winter Noir Classic was a pretty big success. One of the best things it did was expose more people to some very good old movies.

I had a lot of trouble limiting the field to just 26 films because there are just so many good noir films. Some got eliminated just because I hadn’t seen them, although I did include two films that I hadn’t seen—which gave me an excuse to watch them.

But there were a lot of films that didn’t make the cut for one reason or another. Sometimes it was just that I felt I had too many films from that star or that director already. Sometimes it was because I felt they weren’t “noir-y” enough, even if they were good films. And yes, in a few cases it was because I hadn’t seen them. There was only so much homework I was going to give myself.

Some just didn’t make the cut in my mind, but they’re still good. They just weren’t good enough.

But here are just a few noir movies that didn’t make the cut and that I could have included. These are all films that I’ve seen and can recommend to various degrees. They are also films that meet our criteria for the bracket of having been made between 1941 and 1959 and being in English. If we want to get into French and Japanese films, this becomes a much longer list.

These are not in any particular order. I’ve included the year, the director and the stars.

Ace in the Hole (1951). Dir: Billy Wilder. Stars: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling

Criss Cross (1949). Richard Siodmak. Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo

D.O.A. (1950). Rudolph Maté. Edmond O’Brien, Pamela Britton.

Panic in the Streets (1950) Elia Kazan. Richard Widmark, Paul Douglas, Barbara Bel Geddes

Key Largo (1948) John Huston. Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall

Niagra (1953). Henry Hathaway. Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotton, Jean Peters

The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers (1946) Lewis Milestone. Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin

The Blue Dahlia (1946) George Marshall. Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake.

Force of Evil (1948) Abraham Polonsky. John Garfield, Beatrice Pearson

Kiss of Death (1947) Henry Hathaway. Victor Mature, Coleen Gray, Richard Widmark

The Naked City (1948) Jules Dassin. Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff.

I’m sure there are some more that I’ve forgotten at the moment. But if you’d like to recommend some more films that we missed out on in the tournament, we’d all appreciate it.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.

Tonight’s question is based on this article form Andy Martinez about the makeup of the Cubs Opening Day bullpen. Specifically, I’m going to ask you about the five pitchers in competition for the final spot (or spots) in the Opening Day pen.

Martinez has five candidates: Mark Leiter Jr., Tyler Duffey, Michael Rucker, Roenis Elías and Jeremiah Estrada. All of them except Elías are right-handed.

Leiter pitched well for the Cubs last season as a swingman/long reliever, but as Martinez points out, he’s out of options. He’s also not currently on the 40-man roster. So for him to pitch on Opening Day, the Cubs would not only have to add him to the 40-man, they’d have to keep him there or risk losing him to waivers.

Duffey is in pretty much the same boat, except that he has had much more success in his career than Leiter does. But Leiter was better than Duffey in 2022. Duffey would also have to be added to the 40-man and is also out of options.

Estrada has some electric stuff, but his development might be better served getting more work in Iowa than being the last man in the bullpen in Chicago. Rucker is in the same situation. But both of them are on the 40-man and have options, so they could be sent down if necessary.

Elías has been gone from Spring Training with Cuba in the World Baseball Classic, where he’s mostly pitched well. He’s also the only left-hander of the five. But Elías hasn’t been in Spring Training and would have to be added to the 40-man roster. And yeah, he doesn’t have any minor league options either. Elías can also start, so if the Cubs want to use him as rotation depth, they’ll have to stretch him out in Iowa.

So assuming only one of them goes north with the team, which reliever would you put on the Opening Day roster?


Which reliever would you add to the Opening Day roster?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Mark Leiter Jr.
    (63 votes)
  • 5%
    Tyler Duffey
    (10 votes)
  • 17%
    Michael Rucker
    (31 votes)
  • 26%
    Roenis Elías
    (45 votes)
  • 13%
    Jeremiah Estrada
    (24 votes)
173 votes total Vote Now

Thank you so very much for stopping in this evening. We hope that we’ve made this week a little more pleasant. If you checked anything, we can get that for you now. Tell your friends about us. Please get home safely. Tip the waitstaff. And join us next week for more BCB After Dark.