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BCB After Dark: Cubs in the Hall?

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks if any 2016 Cubs player is going into Cooperstown.

Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

It’s another week here at BCB After Dark, the coolest club for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re so happy to see you stop by this evening. If you’re a regular or a first-timer, everyone is welcome here. There’s no cover charge. Come on in and relax. 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.

Before we get to the festivities this evening, I have an announcement. After tonight, BCB After Dark is going to go dark—that is, go on a hiatus—for a few weeks. The reason for that is that earlier this evening, my mother passed away. My sister, with whom she lived on the East Coast, called me on Thursday to tell me that she was getting worse and that I should try to come out and see her before she went. At the time, we were told she still had about a month. Then it became two weeks on Saturday and by late last night, they weren’t sure how much longer it was going to be. I got a ticket to fly out on Wednesday, which was as quick as I could get a ticket on Sunday night. As it turned out, she didn’t make it through today.

So now I’m going out to see my sister and her family and to celebrate our mother’s life. I’m not going to be in the mood to do this silly (but hopefully fun) little thing while I’m out there. I will start up again when I return.

Tonight, the Cubs beat the Rockies, 5-4 in a game I didn’t see much of. I was otherwise occupied. Apparently, Jose Cuas and Michael Fulmer gave Cubs fans several heart attacks, but Yan Gomes going 3 for 4 with three RBI was the big hero. Oh, and Pete Crow-Armstrong made his major-league debut. Perhaps you heard.

Last week I asked you where the Cubs were going to finish at the end of the regular season. After sweeping the Giants, you all were quite optimistic as 61 percent of you said they would win the division. I don’t know if you still think that after going 2-3 since then, but it is still certainly possible.

Here’s the part where I talk about music and movies. Those of you who skip that can do so now. You won’t hurt my feelings.

I can’t really say what kind of music my mother liked to listen to. Whatever was on was fine with her. Whatever radio station it was tuned to was fine with her. I guess she liked to listen to Christmas music in December. “Feliz Navidad” was probably her favorite song. She also never failed to mention that she knew the guy who wrote “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” which is something I’d keep to myself if it were me. But that was my mother.

If she did put on music, which she did when she was cleaning the house when company was coming, she would generally put on my father’s music. I think she must have liked it too, because she could have just turned the radio on. It was the music of her youth much more than my father, who was a decade older.

And the stuff my parents listened to was the folk music stuff of the 1960s. Peter Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio, Pete Seeger, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joan Baez, José Feliciano, We Five, and Josh White, for whom I was named. Surprisingly not Dylan, except for cover versions by other artists. I have no idea why. Maybe my parents were mad when he went electric.

I never knew either of my parents to listen to jazz. So this is the closest I can find to merging my parents’ interests and the jazz that I can find is Marlene Dietrich singing “Where Have All The Flowers Gone.” It doesn’t hurt that Marlene Dietrich was my father’s favorite actress of all time. As far as my mother goes, she would just watch whatever was on. Late in her life, she’d watch a lot of those home renovation shows. Or Days of Our Lives for a while.

As I was dealing with the news about my mother’s illness last night, I decided that I needed to watch something beautiful. And I can’t think of any more beautiful film that director Jacques Demy’s 1964 classic, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg). So I watched it again last night.

I was going to write an essay about why you should watch The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. In fact, I did start one, but after a while I couldn’t continue. It’s not that I was choked up with emotion or anything (although I wouldn’t blame anyone who did get choked up at that film, even if you weren’t going through tough times) but rather that I was up most of the night, either talking with my sister or making plans to fly out. As it was I only got about two hours of sleep and I don’t think anything I was writing was worthy of the film. Heck, I’m not quite sure if anything I’m writing here makes any sense.

But I am telling you to watch The Umbrellas of Cherbourg because it’s a perfect example of what film can be. Yes, it’s a musical, but it is unlike any other musical you’ve ever seen. The Michel Legrand music is enchanting and surprisingly diverse. The production design pops with bright, contrasting colors, making Cherbourg look like a magic realm. And of course, a twenty-year-old Catherine Deneuve just glows throughout the entire film—no one should ever look that good.

On top of that, it’s a surprisingly level-headed look at romance with a message that “Love does not necessarily conquer all.”

(If you want a more upbeat film, check out the semi-sequel The Young Girls of Rochefort, also starring Deneuve and her sister Françoise Dorléac. That’s a much more conventional movie musical, although it’s still a bit out there. It does feature an ax murder, for example. But it also has Gene Kelly.)

I hope that when I come back, I’ll be able to say more about this incredible film. But go watch it before I return.

I should mention that the film was well-liked but not considered an all-time classic until Demy’s widow Agnés Varda (an all-time great director of her own) completed a restoration in the 1990s. It was only then that we could see the beauty that Demy had created and the vibrant colors of the film.

Here’s a trailer for the 50th anniversary edition. You don’t really get how music is incorporated in the film from this (they just play the singing over scenes from the movie) but you do see the glorious way the film was shot.

Finally, to give you folks something to talk about when I’m gone, I call your attention to this Tweet (I refuse to call it anything else) from TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and my response to it.

I have probably only seen The Umbrellas of Cherbourg six or seven times, so that one doesn’t count. But you can play with this and tell us which movies you’ve seen at least ten times. Or if you’ve never seen a film ten times, give us one you’ve seen five. Have some fun with it.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies.

I’m obsessed with a little-know factoid. Every 20th Century World Series Champion had at least one Hall-of-Famer on their team except two: The 1981 Dodgers and the 1997 Marlins. If you’d have told me in 1981 that no player on the ‘81 Dodgers would go into Cooperstown, I would not have believed you. Everyone at the time seemed to believe that Steve Garvey was Cooperstown-bound, but modern analytics have not been kind to him, nor has his post-playing career helped his reputation. It also certainly seemed in 1981 that Fernando Valenzuela had a good shot at a Hall-of-Fame career.

Of course, the 1981 Dodgers do have Hall-of-Famer in manager Tommy Lasorda. And their left fielder. Dusty Baker, is going to be inducted in the near future, but he’s going in as a manager and not as a player.

The 1997 Marlins do not currently have a Hall-of-Famer, although Gary Sheffield would likely already be in if not for a PED association. I am a bit surprised that Kevin Brown hasn’t gotten more support, but I definitely see him as more of a borderline case than the slam dunk Sheffield would be without the PED association. But either could get in eventually.

You kind of have to fudge things to give the 1988 Dodgers a Hall-of-Famer. Don Sutton had his last hurrah with that team, but was released in August and never pitched again. However, he’s got a ring and he was a player, so I’m counting it.

Things get iffier when you get into the 21st Century. For one, it’s just harder to get into Cooperstown now than it was for players in the non-expansion era. (Plus, the Yankees won about half of the titles from 1923 to 1962 and they always had at least two or three players who would eventually get into Cooperstown.) On top of that, with so many more teams making the playoffs, it because easier for a weaker team to emerge with the title.

Still, I’m only confident that two teams, the 2002 Anaheim Angels and the 2015 Kansas City Royals, won’t get a player inducted. Even then, I’m not sure. Francisco Rodriguez has a case to go in as a reliever for the Angels and the case for the Royals’ Salvador Perez is basically that if Yadier Molina goes in (and he most likely will), then Perez belongs in too. I’m not sure that’s a legitimate argument, but it’s one that Royals fans will make.

Then there are some questionable cases. The 2009 Phillies had Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Either or both could go in. Either or both could get shut out.

By now, you’ve probably figured out where I’m going. Then there is the 2016 Cubs. I think that year we all expected that either Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo had a good shot at Cooperstown, but injuries seem to have gotten in the way. Javier Báez looked like he had at least an outside chance for a while, but then he signed with Detroit and nothing has gone right since.

There are two serious candidates for Cooperstown on the 2016 Cubs. The first in Jon Lester. If you look at Lester’s career stats and all the “Hall of Fame” stats that people who are obsessed with Cooperstown come up with, Lester is a borderline candidate. Maybe one on the outside looking in. However, he has those three rings, two with Boston and one with the Cubs, and that may give him the boost with the voters to put him over the top.

The other one is Aroldis Chapman, who was clearly the most dominate closer in the game for the 2010s. But the standards for closers are unclear and there are those personal issues that some may hold against them.

Of course, we can’t rule out Kyle Schwarber or Willson Contreras putting on a finishing kick to their careers that would put them in the Hall. But it seems unlikely for either one.

Of course, Joe Maddon has a strong chance of going in. But that would be like Lasorda and the 1981 Dodgers.

So tonight’s question is: Which member of the 2016 Cubs is going into Cooperstown? Also, remember this is a “will” question and not a “should” question. If I asked “should,” there would probably 10 or 12 Cubs players from that team in Cooperstown if this crowd voted.


Which 2016 Cubs player will go into Cooperstown?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Aroldis Chapman
    (7 votes)
  • 53%
    Jon Lester
    (133 votes)
  • 6%
    (15 votes)
  • 36%
    (91 votes)
  • 1%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (3 votes)
249 votes total Vote Now

Thank you so much for stopping by this evening. We hope you were able to relax and have a good time. And maybe say a prayer for my mother. Please get home safely. Recycle any cans and bottles. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.

Thank you for everything, mom. You didn’t have to be my mother, but you did.