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BCB After Dark: The men of steal

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks you what you think of all these stolen bases.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the coolest club for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Thank you so much for stopping in this evening. We’re expecting a big crowd tonight, so you’re just in time. Your name is on the guest list. Please come on in and take a seat. 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 rained out today in Cincinnati. They have an off-day tomorrow as they return home. I guess we’re the only game in town.

Last night I asked you which Cubs player you would most like to sign to a contact extension. Although there were a few write-in votes for Ian Happ, left-hander Justin Steele ran away with the vote with 64 percent. Right-hander Marcus Stroman was second with 21 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 we have a tribute performance by saxophonist Azar Lawrence in 2020. While Lawrence is a great sax player in his own right (as you can tell from this piece), he is probably best-known as a sideman for Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and above all, for his close friend McCoy Tyner.

This performance by Lawrence was part of a benefit during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, so that’s why it looks like he’s floating in the astral plane. But this composition, “Our Paths Will Cross Again,” is a tribute to his playing partner Tyner. Tyner had just died in early March of 2020, about a week before the virus would shut down the world.

Earlier this week, I offered some thoughts on Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, which, despite its obvious quality, I didn’t particularly care for. I found it a tough slog of a watch.

So tonight’s question for discussion is “What films do you dislike that you’re not supposed to?” This can either be a film that was well-reviewed by the critics and you just didn’t care for, or something that all your friends told you was great and that you hated.

In addition to Jeanne Dielman, I wrote back around Halloween last year that I didn’t care much for The Exorcist. A really well-crafted film no doubt, but I found it too unpleasant to be enjoyable. Many of you commented that you felt the same way about The Exorcist.

Of course, there is my well-stated dislike for Field of Dreams, which is a pretty controversial film among baseball fans. There isn’t a lot of middle ground between those who love that film and those who don’t. You can add another saccharine 90s film to my dislike category: Forrest Gump. Although I guess that film’s reputation isn’t quite what it was 25 years ago.

So tell us what films you don’t like that you feel like you are supposed to like?

Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.

The season is about a week old now and we’ve had a week to get used to the new rules. The pitch clock is getting most of the attention, but the side effect of the clock and the larger bases has been a huge explosion in the numbers of stolen bases in MLB so far.

It’s still early, but stolen bases are way, way up in the majors in a way that they really weren’t when these rules were adopted in the minor leagues. Steals did go up in the minors, but not by these amounts. In this article by Ben Clemens, he compares the first 50 games of the 2022 season to the first 50 games of this year. Last year, teams stole a total of 33 bases in the first 50 games. This year, the total is more than double with 70.

Teams are not just running more, they’re running more successfully. Last year, teams were successful in 75.4% of their steals, which was just shy of an all-time high. But so far this year, with the increased steals rate, teams have been successful in 83.3% of their steal attempts, which would shatter the all-time record.

Now Clemens does note that these steals totals (but not the steal percentage) would be right at home in the 1980s. Those of us old enough to remember baseball in those days know that back then, when a player with any speed whatsoever reached first base, he was going to try and steal. It was almost automatic. (Maybe the manager would call for a hit and run rather than a straight steal.) That run-happy offense led to something that the new rules ban—throwing over to first base several times in an at-bat. Now, you can only throw over (or even step off) twice in an at-bat before a balk will be called. (To be clear, a pitcher can throw over a third time, but they have to record an out or a balk is called.)

So tonight’s question is “Is this a good thing?” Do you like this new emphasis on running, or is it getting out of hand? Maybe you love all this running. Maybe you liked it the old way when only the fastest players looked to steal. Or maybe you wanted to see more stolen bases, but just not this many.

Is the huge uptick in stolen bases good for baseball?


Are all the stolen bases a good thing in baseball?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Yes! Let them run wild!
    (107 votes)
  • 22%
    Stealing should be encouraged, but this has been a little too much
    (34 votes)
  • 6%
    No. It’s become too easy for marginal athletes to steal bases
    (10 votes)
151 votes total Vote Now

Thank you to everyone who stopped in this evening. If you drove here, we can validate your parking. But be sure you’re OK to drive first. Get home safely however you travel. Please recycle any cans and bottles. Tip your waitstaff. Tell your friends about us. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.