‘Bronco Pride’ invades Northern Nevada
November 21, 2008
By Joe Santoro
Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .
Wolf Pack football fans are being challenged. The Boise State athletic department, on its broncosports.com Web site on Thursday, encouraged its fans to wear orange at Mackay Stadium for this Saturday’s Wolf Pack-Broncos showdown. Not only that, they asked Boise State fans to wear orange throughout their weekend stay in Reno as “a unified show of Bronco pride.” OK, it’s one thing to ask your fans to wear a certain color at your own home games. But on the road? Yes, Pack fans, you are being challenged, right there on the wonderful World Wide Web. Do you think Ohio State fans will allow Michigan fans to turn Columbus into a sea of maize and blue this weekend? Do you think Cal fans will allow Stanford fans to turn the streets of Berkeley into a parade of Cardinal red and white? Do you think Utah fans will allow BYU fans to fill Rice-Eccles Stadium with blue and white? Don’t you just love college football’s rivalry week?
It’s just nice to have a huge rivalry game during rivalry week, isn’t it, Pack fans? Welcome to big-time college football, Northern Nevada. The beauty of this game for the Pack is that the Pack has so much to gain and very little to lose. There is no pressure on the Pack. Nobody outside of Northern Nevada thinks the Pack has a chance on Saturday. Boise State, after all, is truly a great team and a great program. They are the class of the Western Athletic Conference. All of the pressure is on the Broncos, a team with an unbeaten season and a BCS bowl game staring them in the face. The Pack is at home, they have a gigantic chip on their shoulder and they proved they can play with Boise last year on the road. And, oh yeah, one other thing. It’s time. It’s time a decade of frustration against Boise comes to an end.
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OK, now it’s time to talk Wolf Pack basketball fans in off the ledge. Don’t worry about what happened in San Diego this week. Armon Johnson and Luke Babbitt will not combine to shoot 4-for-25 from the field again. That was a tough game on the road for a young, depleted team trying to find its identity. This is going to be a year that tests the patience of coach Mark Fox and Wolf Pack fans. This is a team in search of leadership and offense right now. But it will come eventually. Patience, Pack fans, patience.
OK, it’s official. Pro golfers make way too much money. J.P. Hayes was applauded this week for turning himself in after using an illegal ball in a PGA Qualifying Tournament. Yes, go ahead. Applaud the man for his honesty and integrity. Can you imagine a Major League Baseball player, for example, turning himself in for breaking the rules? But let’s not anoint Hayes for sainthood just yet. Don’t forget that the guy has earned over $7 million ” helped by nearly $400,000 in nine Reno-Tahoe Opens ” despite winning just two PGA events in his 19-year mediocre career. If Hayes was a professional baseball player with that rate of success, he’d be earning about $1,500 a month playing in an independent league. It’s easy to be honest when you’ve already pocketed $7 million.
Prediction: Darrell Rasner is going to become a very solid and dependable starting pitcher in Japan over the next two years and he’ll have major league teams begging him to sign a three-year deal after the 2010 season.
All four Northern 4A high school football head coaches in this week’s regional semifinals have done an incredible job this year. Ken Dalton, whose program survived a tumultuous season just two years ago, has McQueen back as the favorite to win a state title. Ernie Howren at Reed has long been one of the most underrated coaches in the state. Tony Amantia’s patience and unbelievable work ethic has finally paid off at Damonte Ranch and Paul Mills has done an amazing job in making sure Bishop Manogue remained one of the top football programs in the state after making the tough transition from Class 3A to 4A.
It’s nice that little Dustin Pedroia won the American League’s Most Valuable Player award this week. There was no real clear-cut MVP this year in the AL and, well, Pedroia was as deserving as anyone else. But let’s not go crazy. ESPN, which thinks the world starts in New York and ends in Boston, even went so far as to suggest that Pedroia is the “best small athlete of all-time.” Wow. Relax. Pedroia is not only not the best small athlete of all-time, he’s not even the best all-time small athlete in his own sport among those that won a MVP. Let’s not forget the 5-foot-7 Joe Morgan who won back-to-back MVPs for the Reds or the 5-8 Jimmy Rollins, who hit 30 homers, drove in 94 runs and scored 139 for the Phillies when he won the MVP just two years ago. Pedroia is a nice player. That’s it. In the future, his MVP will be lumped with the MVPs won by Zoilo Versalles (1965), Willie McGee (1985) and Terry Pendleton (1991) among the most forgettable.
The Jeremy Affeldt signing doesn’t make any sense for the pitching-rich San Francisco Giants. When is this organization going to spend some money on offense? Then again, when you have Bengie Molina in the clean-up spot, who needs more offense?