It’s another week here at BCB After Dark: the sweetest hang for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. So glad that you could stop in. Come on in where it’s warm and dry. If you have a coat or umbrella you’d like to check, we can do that for you. There’s no cover charge. There are still a few tables 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.
Holy cow. If you missed tonight’s WBC semifinal between Japan and Mexico, I feel sorry for you. I had to catch the last few innings on the radio in the car, but it was a game that anyone who attended, watched or listened to will never forget. In the end, Japan advanced to the finals with a 6-5 win over Mexico after a walkoff two-run double by Munetaka Murakami. I say “advanced” rather than “won” because I agree with Mexico manager Benji Gil.
Mexico manager Benji Gil: “Japan advances, but the world of baseball won tonight.”— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) March 21, 2023
There will be more on this in tomorrow’s WBC Tonight.
Last time in this space, I asked you which relief pitcher on the margins you think is most-deserving of being added to the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. With 36 percent, you chose Mark Leiter Jr. Roenis Elías, fresh from Team Cuba in the World Baseball Classic, got 26 percent for second place.
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.
South African smooth jazz singer Gloria Bosman died last week at the too-young age of 50. I can’t say that I was familiar with Bosman’s work before I got her obituary, but she was a really big deal in South Africa. And since I’ve now listened to her, I can assure you she had a really great voice.
Here she is singing one of her hits, “Play Me the Love Songs.”
And I especially liked her version of the Bacharach/David tune “The Look of Love.”
I really meant to start having essays about old movies again, but between the WBC, the NCAA tournaments and family obligations, I’ve just been a little too busy to get something done. I am working on something, but I’m not close to being able to write it yet. I did watch In the Heat of the Night last night, the 1967 film starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger and directed by Norman Jewison. That’s not what I’m working on, but if anyone wants to talk about it, I can in the comments.
So tonight’s question is going to be “What sequel is better than the original film?” Sequels generally get a bad rap and most of the time, it’s deserved. It’s pretty hard to recreate the magic that made a film successful a second time. It would be easier if they made sequels to bad films, but who would buy a ticket to that?
But sometimes, a sequel is better than the original. The Godfather Part II is often cited in this category, but I’m not sure that it is. It is one of the greatest films of all time, but so is The Godfather.
I suppose you could say all of the James Bond films are sequels to Dr. No, and while Dr. No is fine and good, I don’t suppose a lot of people would call it their favorite Bond picture.
One that does get mentioned a lot as a sequel that is better than the original is The Empire Strikes Back. I think that’s a great example of what we’re going for here.
I’ll say all three sequels to George Miller’s 1979 film Mad Max are better than that movie was. None of them come close to his 2015 Mad Max: Fury Road, which I insist is one of the greatest films of the 21st Century so far. I suppose it’s not a coincidence that it’s the only one without Mel Gibson in it. But to be fair, Gibson is quite good in the other three films.
So tell us which sequels you think are better than the original picture.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and cinema.
We are ten days away from Opening Day. Spring Training is starting to wrap up and decisions are being made as to who goes north with the team.
There is no question that Dansby Swanson will be the Cubs starting shortstop on Opening Day, barring injury. The Cubs didn’t give him $177 million for him to sit on the bench. But Swanson is 2 for 28 in Spring Training with just one double. He has walked six times, but he’s struck out 12 times.
So it’s fair to say that Swanson hasn’t made the best first-impression on the field so far this Spring. But it’s also Spring Training. It doesn’t matter. But you’d still think that the Cubs big free agent signing would do a little better than that, wouldn’t you?
As Maddie Lee writes, the Cubs are not worried. She notes that Swanson was hitting .077 with a week to go in Spring Training last year and he still had the best season of his career. Veterans who are guaranteed jobs approach Spring Training differently than rookies fighting for a roster spot.
On the other hand, 2 for 28 with 12 strikeouts?
So the Cubs aren’t worried about Swanson, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be. But are you? On a scale of 0 to 4, tell us how worried you are about Dansby Swanson’s spring? If you aren’t worried at all, vote “zero.” If you’re in full-blown panic mode, vote 4.
How concerned are you about Dansby Swanson’s Spring Training?
This poll is closed
Zero—It’s Spring Training
1—Could be better, but I’m not losing sleep
2—It’s starting to worry me
3—This could be a real problem
Thank you so very much for stopping in this evening. We hope you’ve enjoyed being here as much as we’ve enjoyed having you. Please clean up around your table. Recycle any cans and bottles. Tip your waitstaff. Get home safely. Tell your friends And join us again tomorrow for more BCB After Dark.