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BCB After Dark: Happy surprises

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks who has been the most pleasant surprise for you this year.

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the swingingest soiree for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. You’re just in time as the party is just getting started. Come on in and cool off with some cool music and cool people. 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 Tigers earlier today 6-4. I think Al’s recap handled the game pretty well. Jameson Taillon pitched quite well until he didn’t, but even then, Kerry Carpenter’s grand slam just barely cleared the fence in right. According to MLB’s figuring, it would not have been a home run in 13 parks—but Wrigley was one of the ones it would have been.

Last night, I asked you which National League powerhouse you’d rather the Cubs face in the Division Series. You voted and had a clear preference, as 76 percent of you would rather face the Dodgers than the Braves.

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’re featuring trumpeter Chet Baker playing one of his signature tunes, “My Funny Valentine.” The video doesn’t give any information on who the other performers were, but it is from a performance in Tokyo in 1987.

This isn’t the highest-quality video transfer, but the music certainly comes through just fine.

If you haven’t taken a look at my comparison of Purple Noon and The Talented Mr. Ripley, I invite you to still do so. I know it’s a bit long.

I’m starting to think ahead to what we are going to do this off-season. I know that’s still a while away, but I’d like to start planning ahead—and I have a reason for it.

Last winter, we did the BCB Winter Noir Classic, which had 26 film noir classics face off against each other. It was a lot more popular than I thought it would be and that means I should try to do something similar this winter.

Now the issue is that I’ve seen (and read about) a lot of film noir. Of the 26 films I picked for the tournament, there were only three I hadn’t seen and it wasn’t too hard to catch up on those three.

But other genres would challenge me a little more. So I want to try to come up with something in advance so that I have the time to catch up before we start voting in November.

I’m looking for some input into what we should do this winter for a movie tournament. None of this needs to be decided now and I’ll probably ask this question again next month.

We could do “classic movie stars,” which would be easy for me as I wouldn’t need to watch every film in their filmography. It would be an issue as to where we cut it off—there would probably have to be a “First film before 19xx” limit. I suppose we could throw Margot Robbie up against Katherine Hepburn, but I don’t think that’s fair to either Hepburn or Robbie. I’d prefer to keep it to the “classic” era that most of my essays are about.

We could do just “noir actors,” which would simplify things even further, except then we would have to argue about what qualifies as noir. Also, Humphrey Bogart would win in a walk.

Or we could just pick a different genre. Right now, my preference would be for Westerns and I’d probably limit the time frame to 1939 (Stagecoach) to 1969 (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) which is considered the Golden Age of Hollywood Westerns. Actually, I’d probably go to 1971 to include McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

I could just do “gangster movies,” which would pit two versions of Scarface up against two Godfather movies. Or Goodfellas up against The Public Enemy and Bonnie and Clyde. There might be a bit of noir crossover there.

I’d really like to do “Screwball comedies,” but there’s always an issue of defining what is a “screwball comedy” and what’s just a rom-com. But maybe that’s doable. Comparing Barbara Stanwyck’s performance in Ball of Fire to her performance in The Lady Eve sounds like a lot of fun.

One genre I’m not doing is musicals. While there are several musicals that I do like (especially ones directed by Jacques Demy), I’m not going spend my winter watching a bunch of MGM musicals from the ‘40s and ‘50s. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that they’re so formulaic. My eyes would start to glaze over after a while.

But I’m throwing it out for discussion now. And I’ll throw it out for discussion again next month in case you miss tonight’s post.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the movies and music.

Tonight I’m going to ask you who has been the Cubs’ most “pleasant surprise” this season. This means someone who is doing a lot better than you thought he would at the beginning of the season.

Now obviously, Cody Bellinger is a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. But if you thought Bellinger would be pretty good to start the season, maybe he’s not the biggest surprise to you. Maybe it’s Mike Tauchman, who started the season in the minors. Or maybe it is Julian Merryweather, whom the Cubs claimed off waivers to almost no fanfare this past winter and has become the Cubs’ valuable setup man this year.

Or maybe you thought Dansby Swanson was going to be a bust—or at least not worth the money. I remember that there were some of you out there saying that this past winter.

So tell us, which Cubs player has been your most pleasant surprise this year?


Which Cub has been your most "pleasant surprise"?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Adbert Alzolay
    (25 votes)
  • 25%
    Cody Bellinger
    (63 votes)
  • 8%
    Yan Gomes
    (20 votes)
  • 4%
    Kyle Hendricks
    (11 votes)
  • 3%
    Mark Leiter Jr.
    (9 votes)
  • 6%
    Nick Madrigal
    (17 votes)
  • 2%
    Julian Merryweather
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Dansby Swanson
    (2 votes)
  • 36%
    Mike Tauchman
    (90 votes)
  • 1%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (3 votes)
246 votes total Vote Now

Thank you so very much for stopping by this week. A big thank you to everyone who voted and/or commented. We hope we’ll see you again next week. Please get home safely. Tip the waitstaff. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.