Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the coolest cantina for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Let’s keep the party going this evening. Come on in and join us. We’re all in a good mood. The dress code is casual this evening. There are still a few 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.
The Cubs beat the Pirates tonight 10-6 in what had to be the biggest win of the year. I don’t want to say that a game in June was a “must-win,” but the Cubs need to start putting together some solid winning streaks to get back in the playoff hunt. The fact that it was against the first-place Pirates was big enough, but that they were trailing 5-1 in the sixth inning and came back to win was huge. I know they had a bigger comeback this year against the Mariners back in April, but that game was 7-0 after two innings and the Cubs scored eight runs in the third. Plus with Marcus Stroman scheduled to go tomorrow night, the Cubs are in a strong position to sweep a series they really needed to sweep. Now don’t let us down tomorrow, Stro. Oh who am I kidding? Even if Stroman pitches poorly, he still wouldn’t “let us down” because he’d be giving it his all.
That is one thing I can say positive about this Cubs team—and positive about David Ross. I haven’t seen a lot of “quit” in this team. I’ve seen a lot of bad baseball, but I haven’t seen heads hanging and players not hustling.
Last night, I asked you which position do you want Cody Bellinger playing when he returns: center field or first base? The question got a good response and a close vote with 53 percent of you wanting Mike Tauchman to stay in center field with Bellinger moving to first base, at least the majority of the time.
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 Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara, usually credited as just Hiromi, with her Trio Project, which includes Anthony Jackson on bass and Steve Smith on drums. This is her doing her own song “Dançado no Paraiso” in Vienna in 2011. She really can wail on the keys.
There’s a whole world of Japanese jazz out there that I unfortunately do not know a whole lot about. But Hiromi is someone who is big enough to have crossed over into worldwide fame.
I watched the 1937 screwball comedy Breakfast for Two, which was directed by Alfred Santell and stars Barbara Stanwyck, Herbert Marshall and Glenda Farrell. I don’t want to go into depth on the picture—it’s not worth it. It’s not a bad movie, but for a screwball comedy, it’s a bit light on the laughs. But there are some really good laughs in the film and Stanwyck was incapable of not elevating a movie to another level. On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, I’d give it a solid 2 1⁄2 stars.
But there were two things about the movie that stuck out to me. The first one relates to what I wrote about 1951’s The Thing From Another World a week ago. One thing I wrote was how, despite being a whip-smart woman who can give and take the dialog with the best of the “Hawksian women,” that the character played by Margaret Sheridan was someone who still saw her role as subordinate to the men around her. Sheridan even got lead billing in the film, but she was a secretary whose goal it was to get married. When it came time to battle the monster, her character hid behind a mattress. When the scientists and soldiers plan to defeat the monster, no one asks her opinion.
Contrast that to Stanwyck’s Valentine Ransome in Breakfast for Two, just 14 years earlier. She’s a rich Texan whom we meet the night after a party with playboy Jonathan Blair, played by Marshall. Jonathan comes from a family of shipping magnates whose firm dates back to before the Civil War. But Jonathan’s partying ways have driven the family business to the brink of bankruptcy.
Val decides to do two things. She’s going to reform Jonathan and she’s going to marry him. In that, she buys up the Blair shipping firm and makes herself president and Jonathan vice-president. Val shows one-hundred times more business sense than Jonathan. She has a male secretary that follows her around everywhere.
The point is, this is a smart and capable woman who drives the action and isn’t in a reactive role. No one questions her making herself president of the new firm—after all, she owns the company now. This woman is not going to hide behind a mattress.
Now to be fair, in the end she gets her wish of marrying Jonathan (ooh, is that a spoiler?) and Jonathan is returned to being president of the company. But the way she portrays it, it’s not so much because she’s a woman, but more that she’s got her business interests back in Texas and that the Blair shipping company should be run by a Blair. This kind of aggressive businesswoman character got written out of the movies by the 1950s with few exceptions. (Stanwyck’s roles were often the exceptions, such as in 1957’s Forty Guns where she plays the head of an outlaw family in a Western.)
Now why the roles of women in film changed after World War II is a whole gender studies class. I’m sure you can find some material if you’re interested in further study.
But here’s what really blew my mind about Breakfast for Two. Glenda Farrell plays Jonathan’s current fiancée, or the woman that has to be disposed of in order for the two leads to get together. But at one point, Farrell’s character Carol used air quotes. She literally was telling Jonathan about something someone had told her and she put her hands up and made the air quotes movement with her fingers.
I mean, they had “air quotes” in 1937? Carol doesn’t call them “air quotes” (research tells me that term originated in the 1980s) and it’s clear that it’s a new concept because Jonathan asks her what she’s doing with her fingers and she has to explain that she’s making quotation marks. But who knew that air quotes dated back to at least the 1930s?
You learn something new every day.
Anyway, if you’ve seen something like that in an old movie where you didn’t realize it existed that long ago, let us know. And no, I don’t mean a time machine in The Time Machine (1960).
Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.
Tonight’s question is about Cubs infielder Nick Madrigal and how much longer will he be on the team?
I think it’s fair to say that Madrigal has been a disappointment since he came over from the White Sox at the trade deadline in 2021. He was injured that year, but he managed to play just 59 games and put up a line of .249/.305/.282. That’s not going to keep you in any lineup, unless maybe you’re a Gold-Glove shortstop playing home games in the Astrodome in 1968. Then you’re okay. But not in any other situation.
This year has been even worse for Madrigal. For one, the signing of Dansby Swanson has forced his move to third base. He’s surprised me there in that he has been able to provide solid defense at third base. But teams also expect more offense out of their third baseman than their second baseman and Madrigal has hit even worse than he did in 2022. That got Madrigal sent down to Triple-A Iowa where, admittedly, he tore the seams off the ball. In Triple-A, Madrigal hit .488/.580/.854 over 11 games. But since his return to Chicago, he’s 3 for 15 with four walks and no extra base hits.
In this article in The Athletic, Patrick Mooney suggests that Madrigal might be a “change of scenery” guy. He hints that the Cubs are auditioning Madrigal for other teams right now. At the moment, it doesn’t seem like the Cubs would get much by trading him. But at some point, the Cubs are going to need to either play players who are going to help them win or players who they think are part of their future. And they’ll have to decide if Madrigal fits into either of those categories.
So tonight’s question is “Will Nick Madrigal be on the Chicago Cubs on August 2?” I pick August 2 because that’s the day after the trade deadline. And I say “Chicago Cubs” because if you think, that after all is said and done with the trade deadline, Nick Madrigal will be in Iowa, then Madrigal is probably a non-tender candidate this winter and his time in Chicago is probably done anyway.
If Madrigal is injured, I guess that doesn’t fit in with the premise of the question. The way I’m phrasing it means a “no” vote if he’s injured, I guess.
So will Nick Madrigal be on the Chicago Cubs on August 2?
Will NIck Madrigal be on the Chicago Cubs 26-man roster on August 2?
This poll is closed
Thank you all so very much for stopping by this evening and keeping the celebration going. We hope we made your night just a little bit better. Please check around to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Recycle any cans and bottles. Get home safely. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.