It’s another Wednesday evening at BCB After Dark: the hippest happening for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. I hope you had a good day today. We’re so glad you decided to join us here. There’s a private party scheduled for this evening, but your name is on the guest list. We’re all friends here. 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 White Sox tonight 10-7 in what has got to be considered the biggest win of the year. Trailing 7-2 after four innings and a bad start from Marcus Stroman, the Cubs stormed back to score eight unanswered runs. Some major kudos need to go out to the bullpen as well, which has come a long way from May when it seemed like no Cubs lead was ever safe. It was the Cubs’ fifth-straight win.
I said earlier that the Cubs really needed to sweep the White Sox and they did. Now, just one game under .500 and 4 1⁄2 games out of a Wild Card spot, it seems more likely that the Cubs will not be selling at the trade deadline. One thing I’ve been saying is that even when this Cubs team was losing, they weren’t giving up. Now that they’re winning, this is not the time for the front office to give up on them, either.
Last night, I asked you what the Cubs would do at the trade deadline if they went 4-1 over the next five games. It was closer than I thought it would be, but 34 percent of you said they would buy, 28 percent thought that they would both buy and sell (for example, trade Stroman but add more major league pieces) and 26 percent thought they would stand pat.
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 by pianist Billy Childs doing one of my favorite jazz standards of all-time. “It Never Entered My Mind.” I particularly love the version that Miles Davis did on his Workin’ album (which was probably the first time I heard it), but I’ve heard lots of different versions that I love. The song is a Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart tune from the musical Higher and Higher.
In this performance, in addition to Childs we have David Robaire on bass and Christian Euman on drums.
Director Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt was reportedly his favorite film. He had a lot of good ones to choose from, but you can see why he was so fond of it. It features some terrific performances from Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotton as well as a lot of location shooting in Santa Rosa, California, which was unusual for Hitchcock.
At the heart of Shadow of a Doubt is a war of wills between two Charlies. The first is Charlie Oakley (Cotton), who may or may not be the Merry Widow Killer. The other Charlie is Charlie Newton (Wright), Oakley’s niece who was named after him. “Uncle Charlie” is the younger brother of Charlie’s mother, Emma. (Patricia Coolidge)
Charlie (and from now on I’ll refer to Cotton’s character as “Uncle Charlie” to avoid confusion) is a bored young woman who has recently graduated from high school. She finds her small town of Santa Rosa boring and dull. But she idolizes her “fun” Uncle Charlie. She even says that they’re “twins.” She decides to send her Uncle Charlie a telegram and invite him to Santa Rosa.
As it turns out, Charlie could have saved the bother. Uncle Charlie had already decided to visit his sister’s family. For one, he’s being followed around everywhere by two men. He also has a large amount of money and jewels—although he doesn’t seem overly concerned about the money.
Hitchcock was big on visual symbolism, and the train that brings Uncle Charlie to Santa Rosa spews black smoke as it pulls into the station. Charlie is thrilled to meet her Uncle Charlie at the train station and immediately tells him that she can tell he’s keeping a secret and that she is going to figure it out. Of course, she thinks that it’s a happy. wonderful secret at first, but Charlie’s attempt to uncover Uncle Charlie’s secret is the plot of the film.
The Newton house is visited by two men, Jack (Macdonald Carey) and Fred (Wallace Ford). They explain that they are survey takers and Charlie’s mother is thrilled to welcome them into their home. Uncle Charlie, who is living with them over the course of his visit, says he won’t speak to them. As you can probably guess, the two men are actually detectives trying to catch the Merry Widow Killer. Eventually Jack reveals the truth to Charlie and explains that the two suspects are Uncle Charlie and another man. They need a photograph of Uncle Charlie to send back east to see if the eyewitnesses can identify him.
Charlie, naturally, doesn’t believe that her Uncle Charlie could be a killer. But eventually she starts noticing little odd behaviors by Uncle Charlie and, being a naturally curious young woman, she starts to investigate and to help out the detectives (actually mostly Jack) with their investigation.
Cotton is one of the more underrated actors of the Classic Hollywood era. He had that everyman face that allowed him to blend into the background, but it also allowed him to play heroes, villains or something in-between. You don’t immediately peg Uncle Charlie to be a serial killer at the start of the film, but as the film progresses, Cotton lets the facade slip from time to time to see a real evil underneath.
Wright’s character changes a lot as well. At the beginning of the film, she’s an innocent, flighty, small-town girl. But slowly as she changes her mind about her Uncle Charlie, she becomes darker and less trusting of anyone. She also starts a romance with detective Jack, which is a symbol of her growing up but is actually one of the weaker parts of the film. But it does symbolize Charlie being torn between the evil of her Uncle Charlie and the goodness, or at least lawfulness, of Jack.
Much of the comedy of the film comes from Charlie’s father Joseph (Henry Travers—Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life) and his best friend and brother-in-law Herbie (Hume Cronyn). The two of them are murder mystery fans and spend much of the film discussing ways to murder each other and get away with it. There’s also a symbolism to Herbie’s character—being married to Charlie’s dad’s sister, he is also Charlie’s uncle. Uncle Herbie talks about murdering people but doesn’t do it. Uncle Charlie, on the other hand . . .well, there is that “shadow of a doubt.”
Shadow of a Doubt isn’t usually described as a noir, but if you wanted to call it that, I wouldn’t argue with you. I may even agree with you. Hitchcock does use a lot of ominous shadows here, like one would see in a noir but not in most Hitchcock films. Of course, the film is Hitchcockian in the way he sets up the shots to increase the suspense. There’s also an extensive use of music and Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow Waltz plays (and is hummed) creepily as a recurring theme throughout the film.
As Peter Bogdanovich noted in the bonus features included in with the disc, Shadow of a Doubt was Hitchcock’s first “American” film in that it was the first time he tried to make a film about American life. Saboteur, which he made the year before, was set in America but Saboteur was a very different kind of movie and it could have been set anywhere. But Hitchcock really wanted to portray a kind of innocence of small-town America, so he enlisted playwright Thornton Wilder, author of Our Town, to help write the script and to give it that small-town feeling. Hitchcock’s wife Alma Reville and Sally Benson, who wrote the stories that were adapted for Meet Me in St. Louis, also worked on the film’s screenplay. The town of Santa Rosa becomes a major supporting character in Shadow of a Doubt.
Here’s a famous monologue from Shadow of a Doubt where Uncle Charlie coldly discusses the type of woman that the Merry Widow Killer murders. This speech is one of the things that sends Charlie over the edge, as you can tell from her interjection near the end of the speech.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and cinema.
The trade deadline is near and as Jayson Stark writes, the action had been slow because a lot of teams were waiting to see what happens with Shohei Ohtani. (The Athletic sub. req.) No team had wanted to trade away any top prospects in case they can use them to land Ohtani later. Now that the Angels have acquired Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López from the White Sox, it doesn’t look like Ohtani’s going anywhere. So we could start to see some deals happen.
But assuming the Cubs are buying and they are not in the hunt for Ohtani, the Cubs could be one of the teams that could swing a deal before Ohtani goes. And one player I keep seeing attached to the Cubs (if they buy) is Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron.
Cron is a right-handed first baseman who could step in where Trey Mancini has fallen short. The Cubs don’t generally let Mike Tauchman face lefties, and having Cron would allow them to move Bellinger to center field and have Cron play first base instead of Mancini when a southpaw is on the mound.
Cron’s numbers on the season may not look great (.255/.299/.480), but he had been battling back issues in the first half of the season. Since he came off the injured list on June 27, Cron is hitting .317/.349/.600 with five home runs in 17 games. Unfortunately, those back issues have popped up again and Cron hasn’t played since July 21. But the Rockies do expect him back soon and have not put Cron back on the IL.
Acquiring Cron would mean the Cubs would probably have to release Mancini and eat the rest of this year’s contract and the $7 million he’s owed for next year. I can see a situation where the Cubs include Mancini in a deal to the Rockies as long as they send a huge chunk of money along with it. Cron and Mancini’s contracts for this year are roughly the same, but Cron becomes a free agent again after this season.
What would it take to get Cron? The Cubs wouldn’t be the only team interested in Cron, so the Rockies would demand more than just a low-level lottery ticket. On the other hand, Colorado is not getting a top-flight prospect for him either. I’m sure the Rockies would love to get first base prospect Haydn McGeary for Cron—McGeary went to college in Colorado. I’m not sure the Cubs would give up a rising star in the system like McGeary, but McGeary is the 27th-ranked prospect in the Cubs’ system in the most-recent Baseball America rankings. A player in that rank plus another low-ranked prospect might do it. Outfielder Yonathan Perlaza, who is having a breakout season with Triple-A Iowa but who doesn’t really have a spot to play in Chicago, is someone else the Rockies might be interested in.
Tonight’s question is: should the Cubs try to acquire C.J. Cron? Assume the cost will be two prospects, but neither one among the Cubs’ top 15. Maybe neither one would be among the top 20. Maybe I’m underestimating the market value of Cron—it is a seller’s market this year—but I can’t see Cron commanding a big return as a two-month rental.
Should the Cubs try to trade for C.J. Cron?
This poll is closed
Thank you so much for stopping by this evening. We hope you were able to get out of the heat for a while, relax and have a good time. Please get home safely. Recycle any cans and bottles. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.