Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the coolest joint for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Come on in and relax for a while. There’s no cover charge. Let us take your hat and coat for you. There are still a few tables available. The hostess will seat you now. 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 your opinion of the World Baseball Classic. Most of you are fairly neutral about the whole thing with 35 percent saying “Eh” and that you might watch the semis or finals. Another 32 percent said that you like it and that you’d probably try to watch a few games.
Hopefully a few of you will be converted by a great tournament over the next two weeks. If you want to comment about the opening game between Cuba and the Netherlands that should be going on as this article posts, feel free. And those who love the WBC, don’t worry. We’ll have more WBC poll questions in future installments.
We don’t have any film contest anymore, so tonight we’re back to me skipping the movie stuff on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. But I always have time for jazz, so those of you who skip that can do so now.
It’s Wayne Shorter week here at BCB After Dark as we celebrate the great musician after his passing last week at the age of 89.
I’m reminded of a story I came across when I was writing about the 1986 film Round Midnight last year. The musical director of that film, Shorter’s former bandmate in the Second Great Miles Davis Quintet Herbie Hancock, recruited Shorter to be in the band that backed Dexter Gordon’s Dale Turner as the character played live. But when Shorter arrived in Paris for filming, he was told that he’d be playing the tenor saxophone rather than the soprano sax that he mostly had been playing for years as a part of the jazz-fusion group Weather Report.
Because Shorter was a bit rusty of the tenor sax and because he wasn’t the type to just mail in a performance, Shorter spent morning, noon and night in the hotel practicing on the tenor sax. Some of the other guests, not connected to the film, began to complain about the noise that Shorter was making as he practiced. When someone mentioned this to Dexter Gordon, he simply replied “Who could possibly complain about listening to Wayne Shorter play the saxophone?”
That’s absolutely right, Dex.
Here’s Weather Report playing “Palladium,” which is often mentioned as the best or among the best songs the group ever performed. This one was written by Shorter and the rest of Weather Report at the time were co-founder of the group Joe Zawinul on keyboards and synthesizers, Jaco Pastorius on bass, Alex Acuña on drums and Manolo Badrena on percussion. Shorter plays both soprano and tenor sax on this track. Not at the same time. He wasn’t Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
Welcome back to everyone who skips all that jazz.
The Cubs won their seventh-straight game today and truth be told, no one will even remember this two weeks into the regular season. Spring Training games just don’t count.
But still, Spring Training is a time for optimism. So tonight I’m going to ask you which player’s performance in Arizona has been the most encouraging to you so far?
I’ve picked out a bunch of players who are having good springs. The caveats on this are enormous. For one, it’s still all a small-sample size. Two, it’s Spring Training and none of this counts. Remember what Joc Pederson did in Spring Training a couple a years ago and then he kind of laid an egg in the regular season. (At least until he was traded to Atlanta. He’s been good since then.)
If you can’t be optimistic this time of year, when can you be? So which player’s performance is making you happy? I’m not including guys like Ian Happ or Nico Hoerner—we expect them to be good. This is for the guys with question marks over their heads. I’m also not including Pete Crow-Armstrong. He’s doing exactly what you’d expect out of him at the moment—elite defense in center and struggling to hit. He’s never played above High-A. He’ll be great soon enough.
Which Cubs’ performance this Spring is the most encouraging?
This poll is closed
Someone else (leave in comments)
Thank you so much for stopping by this evening. The party is always better with you in it. Please stay warm out there. Drive home safely. Tip the waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow evening for more BCB After Dark.