Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the swingin’ spot for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Come on in and celebrate with us. Your name is on the guest list. We’ve freshened the place up a bit since you were last here. There are still a few good 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.
Tonight is a good night as the Cubs snapped their three-game losing streak by pounding the Cardinals, 10-4. Yan Gomes came off the injured list and went 3 for 3 with a home run and a walk. Patrick Wisdom hit his 12th home run of the year. Dansby Swanson had two doubles and I get more impressed with him every day I watch him play. And it is now clear that if the Cubs need to break a losing streak, you want Justin Steele on the mound.
Last night I asked you about the curious decision to play Nick Madrigal at third base and Christopher Morel at second base in Tuesday night’s game. By a margin of 75 percent to 25 percent, you thought Madrigal should have been at second base and Morel at third.
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 we have a brand new video posted out of KNKX public radio in Seattle. We’ve featured videos from them before, but this is one that just posted to YouTube earlier today. It’s pianist Billy Childs, performing alongside Sean Jones on trumpet, Hans Glawischnig on bass and Christian Euman on drums. The first two songs, “Master of the Game” and “The End of Innocence” are compositions by Childs himself. The third and final song, “The Black Angel,” was written by pianist Kenny Barron. All three songs are from his new album The Winds of Change, although he has a different ensemble for that recording.
My daughter is very much into animation. She says she wants to be an animator when she grows up. I think the odds are very much against that happening for several reasons, but I’m not going to discourage her at this point.
But my point is here that if I want to sit down and watch a movie with my daughter, the one way to get her to actually want to watch is to show her an animated feature. Well, usually. I got her to sit down over the weekend and watch April and the Extraordinary World, a 2015 French animated feature. She was a little hesitant because it was French and not Japanese or American, even though we watched the English-language dub. But in the end, she loved April and the Extraordinary World and said it was one of her favorites, even if it wasn’t Japanese.
My point here is that if I want to spend some time with my daughter, I often have to put on an animated feature. So tonight I thought I’d throw it out for discussion for you to name your favorite animated movies.
I’m not a big Disney/Pixar fan. I have nothing against them and I’ve watched many of them with my daughter. I admit many of them are very well done. But most of them don’t appeal to me very much. They’re not aimed at my demographic. Having said that, I did like Ratatouille and The Incredibles.
But Animation isn’t just for kids anymore. I can certainly think of A Scanner Darkly, the 2006 rotoscope animated picture of a Philip K. Dick story that’s rated R. The 2007 feature Persepolis, an autobiographical film based on a graphic novel about a young girl growing up during the Iranian revolution, is one I’d recommend. If you want something different, Tower (2016) is an animated documentary about the Texas Tower mass shooting of 1966, is a powerful movie. It’s not the easiest watch—as you might imagine from the subject matter—but it’s the story of the victims and the survivors and not the story of the perpetrator. But also—it’s an animated documentary. There aren’t many of those.
I am a fan of the Studio Ghibli films, although I haven’t seen them all. Spirited Away is my favorite. Princess Mononoke is quite good too. Actually, they’re all good, but some are just better than others. Those are ones that my daughter will watch with me at any time.
So tonight, tell us about your favorite animated films. Do you like the edgier, adult fare? Or are you a big fan of the Disney/Pixar movies? Or DreamWorks—I don’t want to slight the competition.
Especially tell us if there’s something that’s more obscure that you liked and that you think the rest of us should check out, even if it’s not your favorite.
Here’s the trailer for April and the Extraordinary World in case you’re interested. It comes highly recommended by my 15-year-old daughter. I can recommend it too.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.
Some of the big news today is that Cubs’ general manager Carter Hawkins said the team would “love” to find a way to make Cody Bellinger a long-term Cub. Whether Hawkins is signalling to the Bellinger camp that the Cubs would like to have extension talks or it’s just an executive making the pro forma nice comments about a current Cub doing well—I guess only the front office knows.
That’s not tonight’s topic, however, because I already asked a Bellinger question just last week. But if you want to discuss Hawkins’ comments and the possibility of an extension for Bellinger in the space below, be my guest.
Instead, we’re going to discuss a different Cub who needs an extension. The Cubs signed right-hander Marcus Stroman to a two-year deal with a one-year player option just before the lockout of the 2022 season. Stroman got off to a rough start with the Cubs in 2022 and eventually ended up on the injured list. But since he came off the injured list last July, Stroman has been lights out. He posted a 2.56 ERA over 16 starts after returning to the team last season and he has an ERA of 2.28 after eight starts this year. Stroman and Justin Steele have given the Cubs a one-two punch at the top of the rotation that every contending team needs.
But with Stroman pitching so well, it seems highly likely that Stroman declines that one-year player option and becomes a free agent this winter. In fact, Dan Szymborski addresses this issue in this article of players who should get contract extensions from their current teams pronto.
Szymborski suggests that the Cubs sign Stroman for four years and $98 million. So tonight’s question is: Who says no to that offer? Do the Cubs decide that’s too much to commit to a 32-year-old pitcher? Or does Stroman think he can get more on the open market? (Probably not more years, but maybe more money.) Or is that a deal that both sides can shake hands on?
You can also comment below about whether or not you’d sign Stroman to that deal. But tonight’s poll is whether you think a four-year/$98 million deal would keep Marcus Stroman in Wrigley through the 2027 season.
A Stroman extension for 4 years and $98 million. Who says no?
This poll is closed
Stroman. He thinks he can get more as a free agent
The Cubs. That’s more money or years than they want to offer.
Neither! They shake hands and it’s a deal!
Thank you to everyone who stopped by this week, especially if you commented. But even if you didn’t. This week has had some ups and downs, so let’s hope the Cubs are on the upswing now. Please get home safely. If you need us to call you a ride, let us know. Please tip your waitstaff. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.