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Aviators perplexed by Cubs’ decision to skip Big League Weekend

Tickets for the second Big League Weekend of 2022 at Las Vegas Ballpark featuring the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies on March 18 and 19 will go on sale Tuesday.

Provided the Major League Baseball labor lockout is resolved in time, the Oakland A’s and Cleveland Guardians will meet in the first Big League Weekend on March 12 and 13.

Do the math: After making 18 appearances in Las Vegas’ MLB showcase, the Chicago Cubs will not be appearing in 2022 — lockout or no lockout.

“We talked to them as always,” Aviators president Don Logan said of discussions with the new Cubs brass about extending the relationship. “They said they wanted to take a break for a year. We said ‘Why?’ ”

The Cubs were part of Big League Weekend for 14 consecutive seasons from 2005 to 2018. In 1993, the Cubs and Chicago White Sox attracted a crowd of 15,025, setting the attendance record at Cashman Field.

Logan said the thousands who followed the Cubs’ split squad to Las Vegas from their spring training digs in Arizona combined with the team’s huge following in Southern Nevada would seem to justify keeping the series going.

“We went back and forth … they said they don’t want to do it. We said that’s fine, we’ll give it a rest for a year,” Logan said.

The Cubs gutted the nucleus of their 2016 World Series-winning team last season, parting with popular and high-priced stars such as Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Las Vegas native Kris Bryant before the trade deadline.

Rizzo’s spot at first base was taken by former Aviators slugger Frank Schwindel. It would have been nice to welcome back “The Tank” for Big League Weekend, but, as they said in Chicago for 108 years, maybe next year.

Wildcat’s big night

After watching Las Vegas High’s Taviontae Jackson score 34 points and control both ends of the court in a 71-51 victory Wednesday at Green Valley, it was surmised that when the entire stat package was made available, the McDonald’s All-America nominee might be credited with a triple-double in points, rebounds and assists.

According to the LVHS basketball team’s Twitter account, Jackson finished with 34 points, 23 rebounds — not bad for a 6-foot-2-inch guard — six assists and six steals.

Riggs gets props

Former Bonanza High football star Gerald Riggs received a nice mention during the Chiefs-Steelers NFL playoff game when a graphic noted Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris had gone 381 touches without a fumble — the second-most in an NFL season.

The graphic said Riggs had gone 430 touches without a fumble during the 1985 season, when the three-time Pro Bowl selection rushed for 1,179 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 33 passes for 267 yards for the Atlanta Falcons.

Around the horn

— The NASCAR hauler parade up the Strip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway is returning ahead of the March 4 to 6 Pennzoil 400 weekend. It will be March 3, with details including the time and exact route to be announced Monday.

— Former American Motorcycle Association national flat track champion Joe Kopp tops a list of dirt track motorcycle racers who will be inducted into the “Hot Shoe” Hall of Fame on January 29 at the Notoriety Theatre at the Fremont Street Experience.

— Before the singer Meat Loaf, who died Thursday at age 74, became a semi-Las Vegas regular, he coached a cash-strapped girls junior varsity softball team in Connecticut for free. It can be assumed the 1991 Barlow High Falcons ran the bases like a bat out of hell.

0:01

Meat Loaf, on how he got former Yankees shortstop and broadcaster Phil Rizzuto to inject some enthusiasm into the baseball soliloquy for the hit song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”:

“We had pizza, and so I took four pizza boxes, put them out in the studio, turned on all the lights. I started running the pizza boxes like bases, and I’d slide into one every once in a while. And all of a sudden, he got it, and he nailed it.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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