Thursday, May 16, 2013.
Yesterday’s announcement that ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain will be the regional home of Mountain West football and men’s basketball doesn’t affect Boise State football this year. The only game left on the Bronco schedule without a TV home is the opener at Washington, and that’s controlled by the Pac-12. So that presumably means either ESPN or the Pac-12 Network, and with the hoopla surrounding the grand re-opening of Husky Stadium, the intrigue of a Las Vegas Bowl rematch, and the fact that at least Boise State should be in the Top 25, why wouldn’t it be ESPN (or regional ABC)? We should know imminently.
The ROOT Sports deal does affect Bronco basketball, though. The network is set to telecast 25 Mountain West hoops games, and with Boise State bubbling under a number of preseason Top 25 lists (and making the one from CBSSports.com), the Broncos should see an increase from the four games ROOT showed last season. Note that it’s the Rocky Mountain feed, not the Northwest one. But Mountain West Deputy Commissioner Bret Gilliland says that most games involving Boise State are expected to be available on ROOT Northwest.
While Boise State fans awaited the long-anticipated new video board in Bronco Stadium with bated breath, Idaho announced plans yesterday to install a sleek new one in the Kibbie Dome. The screen will be 30 feet by 50 feet—it’ll look even bigger than that in the cozy confines of the Dome. Then Bronco Nation exhaled, as word came out that the State Board of Education has approved Boise State’s plans for a 33 foot by 60 foot video board above the blue turf. Details to follow on when it will go up; athletic director Mark Coyle recently told the Statesman he’d like to do it this year. And here’s hoping the screen’s clarity is unaffected by the sun. Now, about basketball. I imagine the Vandals will arrange the hoops setup in Cowan Spectrum to accommodate the new board. Now that would be nice. It’s back to bated breath for Taco Bell Arena.
There was a spike of activity on the Boise State chatboards yesterday when BroncoCountry.com’s Jared Crews posted his story on Joey Martarano. Crews reported that the Fruitland High star has chosen football over baseball once and for all and will join the Bronco program as a linebacker this summer. Martarano was expected to go high in the Major League Baseball Draft three weeks from now. "I've been talking to a lot of guys that are close to the draft," he told Crews. "I was told I'd go somewhere in rounds 3-5 and told them that wasn't good enough," Coach Chris Petersen was patient throughout the two-sport tug-of-war. "It's going to be awesome to play for Coach Pete," said Martarano. "It just shows what type of guy he is for him to hear me out on all of this baseball stuff. I'm real excited to play for him."
The headline reads, “Prince Harry’s throwing motion is better than Tim Tebow’s.” It could probably add in “the Air Force quarterback corps,” since they don’t get to throw that much. It seems Prince Harry was at the Air Force Academy last weekend and got to try out American football under the watchful eye of Falcon coach Troy Calhoun. Reportedly by the end of the demonstration, the Prince was hitting receivers 40 yards away and caught a 50-yard pass on the fly. Calhoun joked that he wanted to sign Harry up. That would sell a few extra tickets in Bronco Stadium September 13.
The account on Prince Harry’s football lesson from USA Today’s Chris Chase was chock full o’ zingers. “No Air Force players were able to participate in the impromptu training session because the NCAA is a rational organization with meaningful rules that protect the true spirit of student athletics,” writes Chase. “In this case, a restriction against athletes interacting with celebrities prevented the service academy players from attending. Heck, it took an NCAA waiver for coach Troy Calhoun to be there! And here you thought it was just the British monarchy that was antiquated and out of touch!” Chase continues: “Harry also took some snaps, thus assuring that he’ll take at least one more than Tim Tebow in 2013.”
Gary Stevens and Oxbow have drawn post position No. 6 for Saturday’s running of the Preakness Stakes. “Oxbow, for a change, got a decent post position, so that’s going to help there,” said trainer D. Wayne Lukas. “I like what happened there very much.” The odds for Stevens and Oxbow have been cut in half since the Run For The Roses—they’re currently 15-to-1. Orb, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, is the even-money favorite. Stevens, the Caldwell native who got his start at Les Bois Park, will be riding in the Preakness for the first time in eight years.
Not only did former Boise Hawk Ramon Ortiz make it back onto the Toronto roster after being designated for assignment by the Blue Jays four weeks ago, he was inserted into their rotation when he was called back up. And not only did Ortiz start last night against the San Francisco Giants, he beat the defending world champions for his first win since 2011. Ortiz allowed one run on six hits over seven innings in the Jays’ 11-3 rout of the Giants. It was also his first victory as a starter in over six years. Ortiz turns 40 a week from today.
This Katie Cotta is pretty good. Cotta tossed her second-straight no-hitter at the College of Idaho yesterday as top-ranked Concordia-Irvine blasted the Lady Yotes 9-0 to advance out of the Irvine bracket to the championship flight of the NAIA Tournament. Mountain Home’s Nickayla Skinner finally ran out of gas, but she finished her junior year with a school record 25 wins, 11 shutouts, and 247 strikeouts. The C of I ended up 36-23, tying for 11th in the country in NAIA.
Other notes: The state 5A baseball tournament begins this morning at Memorial Stadium, with five Treasure Valley schools in the eight-team field. Local coaches consider it a wide-open affair. Rocky Mountain starts off against Highland, then Boise and Timberline face each other, followed by Borah against Madison and Eagle versus Coeur d’Alene. And Boise State senior T.K. Kim opens play in the NCAA Regional Golf Championships today at Palouse Ridge in Pullman. If Kim can finish first among individuals not on one of the five advancing teams out of the regional he’ll earn a trip to the NCAA Championships in Atlanta in two weeks.
This Day In Sports…May 16, 1869:
The Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball’s first all-professional team, play their first game, defeating Antioch 41-7. I always thought we’d see a score like that during the Steroid Era, but it never happened. The first official baseball game of any kind was played by the amateur New York Knickerbockers and New York Nine in 1846.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)