Welcome back to BCB After Dark, the swinging spot for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re so glad you could join us on this special night tonight. Well, every night is special when you stop by. Please come on in out of the cold. A good table near the stage just opened up. There’s no cover charge this evening. 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 should get the most time in right field now that Seiya Suzuki is injured. The voting was extremely close but in first place with 26 percent of the vote was Trey Mancini. Mancini just edged out prospect Brennen Davis, whom 25 percent of you wanted to play right field. In third base was Nelson Velázquez with 21 percent.
I normally will only feature pictures of players in night games for this feature in keeping with the theme of this place. But there are no night Spring Training games yet and I liked that picture of Ben DeLuzio too much to skip it.
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.
Dave Brubeck may no longer be with us, but his sons carry on his musical legacy. Darius Brubeck, his oldest son, may be the one who most follows in his father’s footsteps as a pianist. But three of them—Darius, Chris and Dan—just performed their father’s composition “The Gates of Justice,” a cantata about the fight against racism and antisemitism, at UCLA this past weekend.
That’s just an excuse for me to feature the Darius Brubeck Quartet in Ireland back in 2019. Here’s Wesley Gibbens on drums, Matt Ridley on bass, Dave O’Higgins on sax and Brubeck on piano. The first song they play here is “Blue Rondo à la Turk” in case you were wondering. “Take Five” is on another video, I guess.
Congratulations to The Maltese Falcon for winning the BCB Winter Noir Classic! The Maltese Falcon beat Double Indemnity with 58 percent of the vote. The Maltese Falcon was the film that made Humphrey Bogart a star and started John Huston’s long career as a director that lasted well into the 1980s. It also was the film debut of Sydney Greenstreet, who would go to be one of the top character actors of the 1940s. Toss in Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook Jr., Lee Patrick and others and it’s one of the best ensemble casts of the decade. (Although probably not as good an ensemble as Casablanca, which also featured Bogart, Lorre and Greenstreet.)
The Maltese Falcon was the number-one seed in the tournament, so it’s no surprise that it won. I’m a particular fan of Double Indemnity, but I’ll admit there’s no shame in losing to a classic as great as The Maltese Falcon. As Limey Cubs Fan Jay wrote, The Maltese Falcon is the easier watch and it has Bogart—but Double Indemnity was, in the words of This Is Spinal Tap—”none more black.”
So a huge thank you to everyone who read about the noir, watched the clips that I provided, voted and commented. This whole “tournament” worked out better than I dreamed it would when I thought it up and that’s thanks to all of you.
But more important than who won and who lost, I think what BCB Winter Noir Classic did best was highlight a lot of really great films. Some of them are classics that most people are familiar with, such as our two finalists. But some lesser-known films, such as Kiss Me Deadly, The Killing and Detour, seemed to have found new fans through this. Heck, I’d never seen Kiss Me Deadly before this tournament started and now I have and can recommend it.
The big problem now is how am I going to top this next offseason? I don’t think I’ll be able to.
Welcome back to all of you who skip all that jazz and cinema.
The topic of Spring Training is always who is going to make the Opening Day roster. I’ve always felt these discussions are a little overblown. Probably 23 players are already guaranteed spots (assuming they’re healthy) on the roster when Spring Training starts, so it’s often a fight for the final two spots on the bench and the last pitcher out of the bullpen. Plus, these players usually have minor league options so that while they may go north with the team at the end of March, they may be heading to Iowa two weeks later.
Still, making the team is a big deal to players for a lot of reasons and we do need something to talk about early in Spring Training. And as we’ve talked about all week around here, it certainly looks like outfielder Seiya Suzuki is going to start the season on injured reserve,
It doesn’t happen much around here because our readers are too intelligent, but occasionally you’ll see people wondering aloud why the Cubs (or any other team) sign free agents to minor league contracts with an invitation to Spring Training. Universally, these are players who have not shown much in the major leagues, at least recently. If they were better players, they would have gotten major league contracts.
But of course, the main reason why teams do this is exactly because of what happened to Seiya Suzuki. Or Gavin Lux with the Dodgers. Guys get hurt and then these players, most of whom have major-league experience, are ready to step in. They may not be great, but they’re better than the other options.
With the injury to Suzuki, there’s now an opening for a fifth outfielder and two NRIs, Ben DeLuzio and Mike Tauchman, are both in contention for that Opening Day spot. The right-handed hitting DeLuzio, 28, made his major-league debut with the Cardinals last year and wasn’t good, hitting .150/.292/.200 over just 25 plate appearances. He was used almost exclusively as a late-inning defensive replacement, but he was good enough there that the Cardinals put him on their postseason roster against the Phillies. And in Triple-A last year, DeLuzio hit a solid .278/.353/.429 with nine home runs and 30 steals in 94 games.
Tauchman, 32, was a sensation with the Yankees in 2019 when he hit 13 home runs in just 87 games. His triple-slash line that year was .277/.361/.504. But the left-handed hitting slugger hasn’t been able to repeat that line since then. The Yankees traded him to the Giants at the start of the 2021 season and he hit just .178/.286/.283 with four home runs in 64 games. He left for Korea last season and had a nice season for Hanwha, hitting .289/.366/.430 with 37 doubles, four triples and 13 home runs over 144 games for the Eagles.
So for the purposes of tonight, you can keep either DeLuzio or Tauchman as the Cubs’ fifth outfielder to start the season? Which one do you want? Do you want the right-handed defensive speedster in DeLuzio? Or do you take the left-handed power of Tauchman?
And no, I’m not letting you say “both” or “neither.” Take a stand, Don’t be a wuss.
Which outfielder would you keep on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster?
This poll is closed
Thank you all so very much for stopping by this evening and this week. Thanks again to everyone who joined our little film festival this offseason. Please stay warm and dry out there. Get home safely. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again next week on BCB After Dark where we’ll have more great shows. We think. Actually, we’re just hoping at this point, but you’re going to want to stop by and find out, right?