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BCB After Dark: Always be closing still

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks who should be getting the majority of the save chances.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the secret hangout for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. So glad you could join us on this quiet Monday evening. I hope you had a terrific weekend. There are still a few tables available, some come on in. There’s no cover charge. 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.

The Cubs were dark today. That sounds cooler than just saying that they had an off-day.

Last week, I asked you if you thought the Cubs were playoff bound this year. At least when you voted, you were in a positive mood because 63 percent of you said “yes.”

Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Tonight I’ve got a live performance from saxophonist Bobby Watson from 2020. This is one of those pandemic performances with no audience. It’s “Soul Eyes.” Warren Wolf is on vibraphone, Victor Gould on piano, Curtis Lundy on bass and Victor Jones on drums.

The one film I watched over the weekend was Dune. Not the 2021 version directed by Denis Villeneuve, but the much-reviled 1984 version directed by David Lynch. I wasn’t going to write about it, but then I got to thinking about it here and a short essay just came out.

Dune was supposed to be a franchise to compete with Star Wars, but instead became famous as a major flop. Lynch reportedly turned down directing The Return of the Jedi to direct Dune, and it’s fascinating to think of what might have happened had Lynch made a different decision. Dune pretty much ended his chance of ever being a blockbuster Hollywood director as no studio ever handed him a big budget film to direct again. The only real major studio film that he would make after Dune was The Straight Story, which is always considered the sore thumb that sticks out in Lynch’s filmography. Although there are a lot of Lynchian touches in that film, it was still rated “G.”

(Television, on the other hand, would give Lynch a second chance to do big-budget stuff with Twin Peaks, the pilot of which was released as a theatrical film in Europe. Whether that counts as a major studio film production is up to you to decide.)

Dune, the 1984 version, is a mess. I can easily understand why it flopped. Heck, I would have been one of the prime candidates for an audience for that film and I didn’t go to see it in 1984. I’ve never read the Frank Herbert novel, but I’m told it is very dense and complicated. Trying to do justice to that in two hours and 15 minutes just wasn’t possible. And since Lynch has never been as interested in linear storytelling as much as he is in character and imagery, the plot to the movie Dune is close to incomprehensible. Kyle MacLachlan plays a guy who is supposed to be some sort of intergalactic messiah. Everyone wants to control something called the spice, which is only found on this one desert planet. There are giant sand worms in the way. And people talk telepathically, but also normally. And there is voice-over narration that tries to fill in all the stuff that they had to cut to get the film down to 137 minutes. Or whatever. It was hard to figure out.

But while Dune was a mess, at least it was an interesting mess. Or kind of interesting. The special effects look terrible, especially compared to what Industrial Light & Magic was doing with the Star Wars films at the same time. But while the effects look like they could have been ripped off from a 1960’s Godzilla flick. Lynch constantly finds interesting ways to frame these crappy looking spaceships (or whatever) in the scene. Still, the effect is like a talented grade school kid putting together a really good diorama at times.

Since most people going to these types of movies in the early-eighties were very interested in cool special effects, Lynch’s symbolism of dripping water was not going to appeal to them very much. Or any of the other weird looks he gives the audience.

The cast is also loaded. Beyond MacLachlan, who is the lead in his film debut, others in the cast include a pre-Star Trek Patrick Stewart, José Ferrer, Max Von Sydow, Dean Stockwell, Virginia Madsen, Linda Hunt, Jürgen Prochnow and Sting, among many others. It’s a really talented group of actors, but I don’t think many of them figured out what the film was about either. Certainly Stewart was playing it like a serious Shakespearean drama and Kenneth McMillan, who plays the main villain, is embodying more of a less-fun Snidely Whiplash with a full side of ham.

The film has Lynch’s normal combination of whimsy and horror, which is really not going to appeal to any audience in a big sci-fi blockbuster. It doesn’t have the “oohs” and “aahs” that the fans of Star Wars or the Star Trek films were looking for. On the other hand, the plot is incomprehensible to anyone who hadn’t read the book. Sure, you can just go along for the ride like I did, but if you actually paid for your ticket and are sitting in a theater, you probably want more than that.

Here’s a cute story from Kyle MacLachlan about a scene he had with Patrick Stewart.

Here’s the trailer for Dune. It’s a mess too.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.

The Cubs have a full-blown closer controversy going, which is interesting because manager David Ross never really named a single closer. Despite the default “closer by committee” approach that the Cubs seemed to be going with, it appeared clear early in the season that Michael Fulmer was going to get the first crack at most saves.

But Fulmer hasn’t been good, to put it mildly. He has one save this season, two blown saves and two losses. His ERA is a putrid 8.68. Even Fulmer has been critical of Fulmer, saying that “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’d better figure it out pretty damn quick.”

So the question becomes, who should get the next crack at saves for the Cubs? Other than Fulmer and Julian Merryweather (who mostly gets mop-up duty), the Cubs bullpen has pitched decently this spring. Assuming that Ross takes Fulmer out of the closer spot, at least temporarily, who should be closing?

The Cubs have only recorded two saves so far this season—one for Fulmer and one for Brad Boxberger. Partly that’s because they haven’t had a lot of save opportunities at the end of games. It’s also a sign that no one has stepped up and claimed that ninth-inning job.

I’ll let you vote for Fulmer to keep his job if you want. If you do vote for Fulmer, it doesn’t mean that you think he should keep getting the lion’s share of save chances indefinitely. It just means you don’t think there should be a chance right now during the Padres series.

And yes, we know that Ross may spread the save chances around a bit. But the question today is about who gets the majority of the save chances.


Who should be closing for the Cubs?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Michael Fulmer (stay in job for now)
    (3 votes)
  • 33%
    Adbert Alzolay
    (60 votes)
  • 11%
    Brad Boxberger
    (20 votes)
  • 13%
    Jeremiah Estrada
    (25 votes)
  • 18%
    Brandon Hughes
    (34 votes)
  • 7%
    Mark Leiter Jr.
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    Michael Rucker
    (3 votes)
  • 8%
    Keegan Thompson
    (15 votes)
  • 3%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (7 votes)
180 votes total Vote Now

Thank you so very much for stopping by this evening. I hope we gave you something to do on this off-day. Please recycle and cans and bottles. Tell your friends about us. Tip the waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow evening for more BCB After Dark.