Wednesday, June 20, 2012.
The Boise Hawks just passed their 25th anniversary, and we mark the moment now as the team celebrates Opening Night (home version) this evening at Memorial Stadium. The past quarter century has seen the Hawks spend three years as an independent ball club, then 11 seasons as an Angels affiliate, and 11 more as a Cubs affiliate. So with this season, the Hawks will have spent more time with the Cubs than anyone else. The Hawks have had winning seasons in 16 of their 25 years to date, but none since 2008. They won their 1,000th game last summer and are 1,024-873 overall, more than 150 games over .500 (thanks largely to dominance during manager Tom Kotchman’s days in the 1990’s).
The Hawks don’t exactly come home on a roll as they play before the home crowd for the first time. They’re 1-4 on the season after falling 4-1 last night to wrap up the series at Salem-Keizer. The Hawks got another strong start from their pitching staff, as Willengton Cruz went the first five innings and allowed just one unearned run on three hits. But the Hawks offense couldn’t cash in on its eight hits, leaving seven men on base.
More upshot from last week’s Boise State Football Camp, as Scout.com reports that linebacker Durrant Miles of South Jordan, UT, has committed to the Broncos. Miles, a 6-4, 225-pounder, is penciled in at the stud position, the hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker spot perfected at Boise State by Chicago Bears first round draft pick Shea McClellin. Miles sounded like a broken record among Bronco recruits when talking to Scout.com about his visit. “It was like family up there, unlike any other school,” said Miles. How many times have we heard that? He told the Idaho Statesman he plans to go on an LDS mission before enrolling at BSU. The Broncos’ 2013 recruiting class is pacing nicely, as Miles becomes the eighth verbal.
Judd Zulgad of ESPN Radio’s affiliate in the Twin Cities profiles new Minnesota Viking Chris Carr this week and zeroes in on the former Boise State star’s leadership. "I feel like I have a very extensive football knowledge," Carr told Zulgad. "It's not only knowing the plays and how to run them, it's how do offenses try to attack you? When you're younger, you really don't know that,” said the veteran cornerback. "You really don't understand how to watch film. I'm already talking to a lot of the young guys.” Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier sees the icing on the cake with Carr. “He's provided something for us that we didn't know we would quite get,” said Frazier. “His leadership, along with his smarts.”
Carr has had to put his smarts to work since coming over from the Ravens, whose defense is structured differently than Minnesota’s. "Baltimore is pretty much man-to-man a lot of the time," Carr said. "Here you have man-to-man and other stuff, but you have a lot of true zone coverages, and so I have to get really accustomed to doing that because I wasn't used to just playing true zone.” Meanwhile, you’d have to assume Carr has cool living arrangements. He’s settled into a house owned by former Viking Tony Richardson in Eden Prairie—the same house in which Brett Favre lived during his two-year stint in Minnesota.
Glad I asked yesterday if I had missed any former Boise State players currently coaching in the college ranks. I forgot about Mark Criner, son of former Bronco coach Jim Criner, entering his sixth year as defensive coordinator at Idaho. And Gabe Franklin is the cornerbacks coach at UTEP. Franklin is eminently qualified—while playing the position at Boise State he corralled 18 interceptions, third most in school history.
Sports Illustrated is rolling with its countdown of the Top 100 Olympic Moments, and Idaho ties pop up back-to-back in the early going. No. 94 is Stacy Dragila, the former Idaho State athlete, winning the first women’s pole vault gold medal at the Sydney Olympics. "I remember it didn't feel like it was about winning the medal right then and there," Dragila said of the 2000 Games. "It felt like it was the journey we all had taken in getting there in such a short time and...we didn't know for sure if it was gonna be a medal event. To be able to stand on that podium and earn that right of having that medal placed around you was a dream come true for sure."
No. 93 is former Idaho Vandal Dan O'Brien’s gold medal in the decathlon at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. “O’Brien was favored to win the decathlon gold in 1992, but when he no-heighted the pole vault at the trials, he surprisingly failed to qualify for the Games. Four years later, O'Brien ensured history didn't repeat itself. He not only made the trip to the Atlanta Games, he also finally took home decathlon gold.” Later, you’ll find O’Brien again at No. 64 under “Dan and Dave Campaign Goes Bust,” talking about Reebok’s 1992 advertising blitz featuring O’Brien and fellow decathlete Dave Johnson. The campaign was seriously modified after O’Brien didn’t make it through the trials, but both athletes handled it well.
A subdued and emotional Boise State tennis coach Greg Patton was on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday to talk as a father about his son Garrett’s ordeal after an arrest on five misdemeanor charges early Saturday morning. “In some ways I’m kind of happy this happened, because I had the best Father’s Day ever—with communication and love and tough love,” said Patton. “I also realize how painful this is for me, for him, for a lot of people.” Patton foresees these missteps making Garrett “an even better person” moving forward. “You’ve got to learn from this.” As for any action he’ll have to take regarding Garrett’s status on the Bronco tennis team, Patton deferred to the due process in place at Boise State (as well as the legal system).
This Day In Sports…June 20, 1982, 30 years ago today:
Finished for the day, Jack Nicklaus is tied for the US Open lead and is watching Tom Watson, who has two holes to play at Pebble Beach. Stuck in the heavy rough on the par-three 17th, Watson chipped the ball downhill some 16 feet. Incredibly, it dropped in the hole for one of the most dramatic shots in golf history. Finishing strong, Watson also birdied the 18th to win his first Open by two strokes.
(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.)