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If you've found your way here, I hope you will click here to read "A Hundred Next Years" at its new home.

The honorable Scott Smith, mayor of Mesa, Arizona, the 38th largest city in the United States, had a lot to say on Thursday about the so-called "Cubs Tax," a surcharge on tickets to all Cactus League games that would help fund a new Cubs stadium in Mesa. And he said it on Twitter.

As tweeted by @Mayor_Smith...

Truth Alert #1: Proposed legislation to benefit ALL Cactus League teams not just Cubs.

Truth Alert #2: Whether or not you like publicly financed stadiums, Leg, county govt AND voters all approved. It's been system for years.

Truth Alert #3: AZ Sports Auth has has used tourist taxes to fund $183 mil for stadiums in 6 cities for 9 teams other than Cubs.

Truth Alert 3 Clarification: That's $183 mil on spring training facilities only.

Truth Alert #4: Cubs fans bought 22% of Cactus League tics and resp for 1/3 of econ activity. Result: Cubs fans pay most tourist tax by far!

Truth Alert #5: Stadium where White Sox train received most AZSTA funding at $60 mil.

"Truth Alert" sounds more like something you'd hear from Stephen Colbert than from the mayor of the 38th largest city in the United States. But the controversial plan in the Arizona legislature known as House Bill 2736A is coming under spirited attack from the White Sox and Mariners and (supposedly) all of the other Cactus League teams, and the mayor is clearly concerned that the biggest spring training draw in all of Arizona may again start flirting with those developers in Naples, Florida.

The 11 times that a Major League club has bid Paul Bako adieu:

  1. November 11, 1997. Traded by the Reds to the Tigers.
  2. January 14, 1999. Traded by the Tigers to the Astros.
  3. April 11, 2000. Sold by the Astros to the Marlins.
  4. July 21, 2000. Placed on waivers by the Marlins; claimed by the Braves.
  5. March 20, 2002. Traded by the Braves to the Brewers.
  6. November 26, 2002. Traded by the Brewers to the Cubs.
  7. October 29, 2004. Granted free agency; signed with Dodgers, Jan. '05.
  8. October 31, 2005. Granted free agency; signed with Royals, Dec. '05.
  9. October 31, 2006. Granted free agency; signed with Orioles, Dec. '06.
  10. October 30, 2007. Granted free agency; signed with Reds, Feb. '08
  11. March 30, 2009. Released by the Cubs.
To recap, that's Reds, Tigers, Astros, Marlins, Braves, Brewers, Cubs, Dodgers, Royals, Orioles, Reds, and Cubs. Along the way, Bako has played in 745 games and compiled a lifetime OPS+ of 62. In his previous stint with the Cubs, in '03 and '04, he appeared in 119 games and hit just .218. But who's to say this is the end of the road for the 36-year-old? Not Cubs manager Lou Piniella.

"The important thing is hopefully Paul can get a Major League job. He's a capable Major League catcher. If he can get a Major League job, I'll be happy.

Besides, there are 20 Major League teams Paul has yet to play for.

Bako statistics and transaction history from

On Saturday, WGN Radio selected Judd Sirott to replace Cory Provus as the third man in the Cubs booth along with Ron Santo and Pat Hughes. Sirott has been handling pre-game, post-game, and between-period duties on WGN's Blackhawks broadcasts this season. Previously, he was play-by-play man for the Chicago Wolves of the AHL.

Sirott auditioned for the job earlier this spring down in Mesa. He received this review from his new boothmate Santo:

"[Sirott] was here for two games...The two innings he did, he was a little nervous at first, but then settled in."

Given what I've heard of Sirott's hockey work and the limited role he will have during the Cubs broadcasts—one inning of play-by-play plus the occasional score updates—I'm sure he will be fine.

But how awful must his audition have been for Ron Santo to say he sounded nervous?!

I stumbled across this photographic tour of the new Yankee Stadium tonight in the middle of the Wall Street Journal's newly expanded sports section. (Both the online and offline Journals are seeing the enhanced sports coverage.)

After marveling at what must be the world's most imposing baseball stadium, a park in which the Cubs and Yanks will play exhibition games on April 3rd and 4th, I got to thinking about the Cubs' yet-to-be-developed Triangle Development, which was going to be part of a Wrigley Field campus.

It says a lot about the political power of the Yankees and the Steinbrenners in New York City and about the complications of doing business in Chicago, not to mention the hopelessly messy state of Cubs ownership, that Yankee Stadium is what it is and that the Cubs' Triangle Building is still non-existent.

A Bold Prediction

The Cubs are starting Kerry Wood tonight against Houston. I have a feeling the young righthander has a big game in him tonight.

Be sure you don't miss any of the action.

Random wisdom dispensed by the New York Met faithful over the past few months at "Aaron Heilman Sucks", a discussion forum dedicated to the newest Chicago Cub.

  • I wish nothing but bad things upon this guy. He has caused mets fan way to much pain. Heilman forced me to cut my self during games.
  • did you know heilman means homerun in german? LMAO
  • To Kerri Heilman please say to your husband Aaron when your home at night Heilman you suck please quit for the good of the team.
  • It is amazing how bad he is, if i was the mets GM i'd trade him to Guatamala for an old donkey and a sick monkey
  • Aaron can be very effective. You guys are way to harsh on him. I would be willing to bet most of you wouldn't have the sack to to say any of these things to him if you were alone in a room with him.
  • what a complete moron, jesus, i hate this guy
For the record, in six years with the Mets, Heilman went 22-33, 4.24 with an ERA+ of 100, i.e., dead on the league average. Though this November, he laid a start-me-or-trade-me demand on the Mets—who traded him to the Mariners who traded him to the Cubs—the Notre Dame grad was far more effective as a relief pitcher than as a starter:

Heilman in relief: 3.52 in 280 games (316 2/3 IP), 289 K vs. 119 BB
Heilman as a starter: 5-13 in 25 starts, 5.93 ERA, 106 K vs. 66 BB

Regardless of the numbers, Heilman figures to see duty in both roles with the Cubs.