Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the happening hot spot for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Come on and and cool off for a spell. There’s no cover charge tonight. There are still a few tables available, so grab them before they’re gone. 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, the Cubs’ lost their third-straight game, 6-4 to the Astros. Christopher Morel taketh away and giveth in this game as his misplay of a flyball in left field opened up a four-run bottom of the first inning for Houston. On the other hand, he was most of the Cubs’ offense tonight with a massive three-run home run in the fourth. But in the end, it was a two-run home run by Alex Bregman off Michael Fulmer that ended up costing the Cubs the game. I’m going to reiterate—the Cubs are losing way too many winnable games this year. They should have a much better record than they have. Now lets see if their luck turns around or whether they begin to play down to their record. Hopefully the former.
Last week, I asked you about a proposed contract extension for Marcus Stroman. It turned out to be a timely question because since then, there have been reports that the Cubs and Stroman have had “preliminary” conversations on an extension. In that article, Stroman made it clear that he wants to remain with the Cubs for the rest of his career, although he is willing to go to free agency if that’s what’s necessary.
Anyway, on the proposed four-year, $98 million extension, a narrow plurality of 40 percent of you though that was too rich for the Cubs’ blood. Another 24 percent of you thought Stroman would want more than that. But 36 percent of you felt that such a proposal would be a deal.
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’ve got pianist/vocalist Diana Krall doing “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” Not the Green Day song, but the 1933 version written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren that was a standard for Tony Bennett and Nat “King” Cole.
I watched several movies this week, but I didn’t get a chance to write about any of them. Sometimes it’s just that the movie doesn’t stir anything in me that makes me want to write about them. Sometimes I just don’t get around to doing anything. This week, both of those happened to me. I did watch Winchester ‘73 (1950), starring James Stewart and directed by Anthony Mann. It’s a pretty good Western. Winchester ‘73 is often cited as the first film where Stewart starts to play characters that weren’t all sunshine and goodness. Sure, as Lin he’s the hero of the film and overall the good guy, but he’s a pretty dark hero with a troubled past. That was quite the departure for Stewart from his previous work. If we want to continue the parallel between Stewart and Tom Hanks, Winchester ‘73 is Stewart’s Road to Perdition.
Could I have written about it? Yes, but my schedule today was even more hectic than it usually is on Mondays and I just didn’t have the time. Could I have written it up earlier over the weekend? Yes, I could have. It was also Mother’s Day weekend and I felt it was more important to keep my wife from divorcing me.
I also watched The Blob (1958), directed by Irvin Yeaworth and starring Steve McQueen in his first starring role. I’d seen it before, but it was years ago. Same issue with that one.
I also caught Heathers (1989), directed by Michael Lehman and starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. It was on TV and honestly, I can’t not watch Heathers when it’s in front of me. I’ve probably seen it a dozen times and I’m proud to say that I’m one of the few who saw it in theaters in 1989 when it first came out. This is a dark comedy that has become a cult classic, although the Gen Z kids tend not to find the subject matter very funny. I get their point, but also, you didn’t live through the eighties either. But every time I see an article talking about how Mean Girls (2004) is such a classic, all I can think of is that Mean Girls is the Disney-fied version of Heathers.
So yeah, I could have written about any of those films and I didn’t because I decided to concentrate on my family. Will I write about any of those films on Wednesday? Maybe. Winchester ‘73 is the one I’m most likely to write about.
But in honor of that, let’s discuss some of your favorite Westerns. I’m pretty sure I’ve asked this question before, but it’s been a while. Maybe you have a new favorite. Or maybe you maybe you missed the question the first time. But we’re throwing the floor open to Westerns. I’ll toss out one that also stars Jimmy Stewart, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. That also stars John Wayne, and Stagecoach is a great John Wayne movie back when he was an actor and not a cultural symbol. I wrote about Ride the High Country (1962) about a year ago and I was discussing it with my wife at some point over the weekend. That’s a great film that stars Joel McCrea, Randolph Scott and Mariette Hartley. One thing I find fascinating about that one is that both McCrea and Scott got their start at the end of the silent era and Hartley is still a working actress today. So you’ve got almost 100 years of acting history in one film.
But just toss out some of your favorite Westerns so we have something to talk about other than tonight’s Cubs’ game. Of course, you can always discuss tonight’s Cubs game if you want.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.
Tonight’s question is a customer satisfaction survey about Cubs’ outfielder Seiya Suzuki? How satisfied are you with the Cubs’ signing of Suzuki?
Suzuki has been divisive, as far as I can tell, among Cubs fans. Recently, some have taken to comparing him to Kosuke Fukudome, which I’m sure is meant to be an insult, although Fukudome had a bWAR of 5.1 over the 3 1⁄2 seasons he played for the Cubs. But both Fukudome and Suzuki had high expectations when they came over from Japan and neither one of them has put up All-Star numbers. (Although Fukudome was named to the All-Star team in his rookie season.)
But there are some real differences between Fukudome and Suzuki. For one, Suzuki posted a 116 OPS+ last year. which is higher than any season Fukudome had in MLB. Secondly, Suzuki came over from NPB at age 27, whereas Fukudome was 31 in his first season stateside. (On the other hand, Fukudome returned to NPB and played until he was 45, not retiring until last season. So maybe he was young at heart.)
They also appear to be a lot of other differences between Fukudome and Suzuki. For example, Suzuki seems to me to be much more of a power hitter than Fukudome ever was, who specialized in line drives.
But this isn’t about Fukudome. This is about Seiya Suzuki. Although Suzuki’s rookie season last year was marked by some injuries and an extended paternity absence, Suzuki did hit .262/.336/.433 with 14 home runs in 111 games. He did struggle a bit defensively in right field, which he has admitted and attributed to his unfamiliarity with MLB parks and the increased speed of the MLB game. If that’s true, then the Cubs can expect some improved defense in right field this year with his increased familiarity.
Once again this year, Suzuki was hit with the injury curse, missing the start of the season with a strained oblique. While he returned to the lineup earlier than expected, it was clear that Suzuki wasn’t up to game speed in April. So far in May (not counting tonight’s game), Suzuki is hitting .286/.380/.452, albeit in only 13 games.
So consider this to be one of those surveys that companies are always asking you to fill out. Rank your satisfaction with the Cubs “purchase” (meaning “signing”) of Seiya Suzuki. Would you recommend to your friends that they sign Seiya Suzuki? Would you do it again?
Those of you who return the survey will be entered into a drawing for a $100 BCB gift card that can be used on absolutely nothing in the BCB After Dark Store. That’s OK, because you won’t win anyway. (My lawyers tell me that I’m required to tell you that’s a joke and that there is no actual prizes here. Of course, my lawyers are just voices in my head. Still, they’re correct. And they charge way too much money.)
So how satisfied are you with the signing of Seiya Suzuki?
How satisfied are you so far with Seiya Suzuki?
This poll is closed
5—very satisfied. Would recommend
1—very unsatisfied. Would not recommend
Thank you so very much for stopping by this evening. We hope we’ve made this night a little bit better for you. I know that you’ve made this night a little better for us. Please recycle any cans or bottles you may have brought. Check around your table for any belongings. Get home safely. (Unless you are home already, then just stay where you are.) Tip your waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow for more BCB After Dark.