Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the late-night hangout for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. There’s no cover charge tonight, so come and join us. We still have a few tables available. If you have anything you want checked, let us do that for you now. 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.
I have family obligations on most Monday evenings, so I missed most of tonight’s Cubs’ loss to the Padres, 5-0. I did catch some of it on the radio and I saw the final inning after I got home. From what I caught on the radio and from what people were saying in social media, it looks like I missed quite the ump show. As well as another completely unimpressive display by the Cubs offense. At least it sounded like Kyle Hendricks pitched well except for the second inning.
Last week I asked the big question: Is it time to fire Cubs manager David Ross? It seems like the majority of you still have faith in Rossy, since 62 percent of you said “no.” Many of the people who voted “no,” however, mentioned in the comments that they might be willing to fire him at the end of the season.
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.
Some of you are going to love tonight’s jazz selection and others of you are going to shudder in horror. Either way is fine with me. But I’ve mentioned before that there are few things that 21st Century jazz artists love more than covering Radiohead, so tonight we’ve got another Radiohead cover. This is Argentinian vocalist Karen Souza doing a lounge/bossa nova version of “Creep.” This appears to be from 2011.
I’m working on an essay about the 1951 science fiction classic The Thing From Another World, directed by Christian Nyby. Or maybe directed by Howard Hawks. There’s some controversy about that credit, which I’ll get into on Wednesday night/Thursday morning when I write the film.
For now, I’ll say that The Thing From Another World gets overshadowed by director John Carpenter’s 1982 remake The Thing. But The Thing From Another World is worth looking at in its own right. They’re very different films, to the point where it’s more accurate to say that the 1982 film is more of an homage to the 1951 movie than a remake.
Along with The Day the Earth Stood Still, also from 1951, The Thing From Another World kicked off the fifties science fiction craze that generally did big box office numbers with minimal budgets. The science fiction of the fifties still has a lot of fans today. This retro-futurism was explored in the recent Apple TV series Hello Tomorrow, proving the look of this era of science fiction endures. (If you haven’t seen that series, don’t bother. It looks terrific—the 2020s creating the look of what the 1950s thought the 2020s would look like—but the actual series is kind of a dull slog. But if you really like the look like I do, I suppose you can check out an episode or two and see if you can stick with it.)
It’s easy to believe that every science fiction film of the 1950s was about the Cold War. I don’t think that’s quite true. I don’t think there’s anything particularly “Cold War” about Fantastic Planet, for example. But most of them do deal with either an external threat (meaning the Soviet Union), an internal threat (the Red Scare) or world where science has went too far—or the atomic bomb. The Thing From Another World deals with both the external threat and a scientist who has gone too far, providing an internal threat. So all three dominant themes in one.
Fifties science fiction sometimes gets a bad reputation for the hokey special effects and the even hokier dialog. The budgets were often small and thus, the actors in them tended to be second-rate. The Day the Earth Stood Still and Fantastic Planet were certainly exceptions to this. The Blob also starred a pre-famous Steve McQueen, so sometimes they got lucky in that sense. The “Thing” in The Thing From Outer Space was played by a pre-Gunsmoke James Arness, although it’s not a part that requires a lot of talent. A flame-proof suit, perhaps, but not a lot lessons with Lee Strasberg.
But a lot of people find the low-budget nature and most of these films to be a feature, not a bug. Their very campiness makes them endearing in ways that today’s blockbusters simply can’t recreate. And when they try, they invariably fail badly. You can’t try to be so bad that you’re good. It just has to come naturally.
I’m going to throw it out for you to recommend any fifties science fiction films. Or if you just want to talk about the era and the genre, tell us what you like or don’t like about it.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the tunes and movies.
Tonight I’m going to ask you about the reigning National League Player of the Week, Marcus Stroman. If you’re a Cub fan, you probably know that, so far, Stroman is having the best season of his career. He’s leading the NL in innings pitched and WHIP (among qualified pitchers) and he leads MLB in bWAR for pitchers. He’s certainly an early candidate for the Cy Young Award.
If you’re a regular reader around here, however, you also know that Stroman signed a two-year deal that runs out at the end of this season. Yes, there is a player option, but Stroman would be foolish to exercise it with how well he’s been pitching. So he’s eligible to be a free agent at the end of this season.
Stroman has made it clear that he loves pitching for the Cubs and the fans have taken to him in a way that they have few others who have played for losing teams. The 32-year-old right-hander has said that he wants to sign an extension with the Cubs to stay in Chicago long-term. Reportedly, the Cubs have at least held “preliminary” extension talks with Stroman, but we all know how difficult it is to get one of those done during the season.
On top of that, if the Cubs are not in the playoff hunt, Stroman is the type of player that would fetch a king’s ransom at the trade deadline. Pitchers who are in the Cy Young Award conversation rarely become available mid-season. It should also be mentioned that Stroman is ineligible to receive a qualifying offer, having gotten (and accepted) one from the Mets after the 2020 season.
So tonight’s question is “Where go Stro?” Do you think the Cubs will sign him to a long-term deal? Will they trade him at the deadline? Or will he finish the year out here and leave as a free agent?
If you think Stroman reaches free agency and then signs a new deal with the Cubs, that counts as “Signing an extension with the Cubs,” in case you were wondering.
What’s next for Marcus Stroman?
This poll is closed
He’ll sign an extension with the Cubs
The Cubs will trade him at the deadline
He’ll leave as a free agent at the end of the year
Thank you to everyone who stopped by this evening and especially thank you to everyone who commented. Or even voted. Please get home safely. If you need us to call you a ride, let us know. If you checked anything, let us get that for you. Tip your waitstaff. And come back tomorrow for more BCB After Dark.