Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the swingin’ spot for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. The Cubs may be off this week, but we’re still open for business. There are still a few tables available. Please come on in and cool off. Bring your own cold beverage. Or hot, if you prefer.
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.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. won the Home Run Derby this evening. He beat Randy Arozarena in the finals. Those are two fun players to watch, so at least they put on a show.
Last week I asked you if you thought the Cubs would finish over .500. Fifty percent of you said “no.” Another 41 percent said “Yes.” Nine percent of you wanted to go with the perfect 81-81 record. If you want to look at that positively, fifty percent of you think the Cubs won’t have a losing record. If you want to be negative, 59 percent think that the Cubs won’t have a winning record.
I wonder if taking two out of three from the Yankees last weekend would have changed any votes. Probably not many. Maybe a few.
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 performance of the Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers classic “Moanin’,” which was written by Bobby Timmons. who was the pianist for the Messengers at the time.
This appears to have been recorded just a few weeks ago and features Emmet Cohen on piano, Terell Stafford on trumpet, Dick Oatts on alto sax, Peter Washington on bass and Kyle Poole on drums.
So I’m going to confess that most of my time these past few days have been tied up with the Draft or the Futures Game and I haven’t had much time to sit down and watch a movie. I’ve been trying to watch Strategic Air Command (1955) with James Stewart and June Allyson, but I’m finding it rough going. The plot of the film is putting me to sleep. Or all the work on the draft is. Probably both.
I think the big appeal of the film is the aerial photography, but that’s not so revolutionary almost eighty years later.
However, there is a baseball connection to Strategic Air Command and it’s a bad one. The film is loosely “inspired” by Ted Williams getting recalled to active duty as a pilot in the Korean War. So Stewart’s character, “Dutch” Holland, is a baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals. That’s primarily because the Cardinals trained just a few miles from the Air Force base where they were shooting the film and they could shoot in their Spring Training facility. Not only that, but the film claims Holland had 150 RBI for the Cardinals the year before the film takes place.
Now I’m supposed to believe that a 47-year-old, grey-haired, scrawny Jimmy Stewart hit cleanup for the Cardinals? And was good at it? Did he draw 150 bases-loaded walks? When the film started and Stewart was in a Cardinals uniform, I thought he was supposed to be the manager. When they told me he was their big slugger, I almost fell out of my chair.
Now as a bomber pilot, that I can believe. Stewart really was one of those and served in SAC. I believe he was still in the Reserves when this film was made.
But since I don’t have anything more than that, I thought I’d just ask the one question that everyone this summer is asking about the movies: Oppenheimer or Barbie? Who ya got?
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.
Tonight I’m piggybacking off of this article by Brittany Ghiroli and Eno Sarris in The Athletic about how to make the All-Star Game more interesting. (sub. req.) The All-Star Game was a big deal when I was a kid. Seeing American League pitchers throw to National League sluggers and seeing who’d win? That was an interesting question in the days before interleague play. Now, it just doesn’t seem to have the same sort of appeal. At least not to me and not to a lot of other people, judging by the TV ratings.
So Ghiroli and Sarris have a few ideas for livening things up, most of which can be dismissed out of hand. They’re not going play Banana Ball. They’re not going to have captains pick teams like in the NBA—there are too many players on the roster to handle that and the one-player-per-team rule makes roster construction a nightmare anyway. The rookies versus sophomores idea has merit, but that would be more of a replacement for the Futures Game than the All-Star Game.
But one idea that people have thought of is changing the AL/NL format to a US versus the World format. They’ve done this in the Futures Game and they could do it for the All-Star Game. If people aren’t getting excited about the American League playing the National League anymore, what if they changed it so that the US was taking on the World?
Certainly the World Baseball Classic this past March actually did get people excited who don’t normally watch a lot of baseball. People were talking about it who don’t normally talk about baseball. Could adopting a similar approach add some excitement to the All-Star Game?
On the other hand, we just had the WBC and it was a special event. We wouldn’t want to cheapen it by having a similar sort of exhibition. And while it is one thing for a player from the Dominican Republic to play for the honor and glory of his country, it’s asking a lot for them to get fired up for the honor of “The World.”
But let’s hear what you think. Should they change the All-Star Game to a US vs. the World format? Is the AL/NL format tired and old? Or is it a tradition worth keeping?
Which All-Star Game format would you prefer?
This poll is closed
American vs. National
US vs. the World
Thank you so very much for stopping by this evening. I hope we helped you settle down and cool off a bit this evening. If you need anything from us, let us know. Please get home safely. Recycle any cans and bottles. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.