Bat dog fetches better life in Boise
The Boise Hawks kick off their 32nd season on the road Friday before returning for their home opener Wednesday against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.
Get ready for the season with our guide below.
TWO FIRST-ROUND PICKS ON ROSTER
The Hawks start the season with the Colorado Rockies’ first-round picks from the 2015 and 2016 drafts in the rotation who are rehabbing from injuries.
Right-handed pitcher Riley Pint, the No. 4 overall pick in 2016, started the year in Low-A and made one appearance before landing on the disabled list with a forearm injury. The 20-year-old got a $4.8 million signing bonus with Colorado last year and has a fastball that reportedly reaches 102 mph.
Joining him is right-hander Mike Nikorak, the 27th overall pick in 2015. The 21-year-old struggled in his first pro season, posting an 11.72 ERA and issuing 32 walks in 17 ⅔ innings. He improved in 2016 to a 3.68 ERA in 29 ⅓ innings with rookie-level Grand Junction (Colo.). He missed all of 2017 after Tommy John surgery and has never pitched above the rookie leagues.
MANAGER AND MORE RETURN
Scott Little will lead the Boise Hawks for the second straight season.
Boise went 37-39 last season under Little, who was also the team’s hitting coach in 2016. The Hawks fell one game short of winning the second half of the season last summer to miss the playoffs for the third straight year.
Boise hasn’t finished above .500 since becoming a Rockies affiliate in 2015.
Little can rely on one of the best hitters the Hawks had last season with outfielder Daniel Jipping returning. He finished tied for second in the Northwest League with 11 home runs but hit .233, earning him a repeat summer in Boise.
Jipping is one of 12 players returning from last season’s roster.
Prices remain the same as last season. Tickets purchased at the stadium the day of a game include a $1 surcharge, and tickets bought online have a $2 processing fee. All tickets on Monday are an extra $4 as part of the Feed Your Face Mondays promotion.
- Third-base/home-plate reserved: $13
- First-base box: $13
- First-base bleachers: $7
The Hawks will shoot off fireworks after nine games this summer, one more than last season and three more than 2016.
The fireworks shows are June 22, July 4, July 6, July 13, July 20, July 28, Aug. 10, Aug. 31 and Sept. 2.
Minor league baseball revels in wacky promotions. The Hawks’ most unique comes on July 21 during Saved By the Belt Night, which will feature Dennis Haskins, the actor who played Mr. Belding on the ‘90s television show “Saved By the Bell.”
The Hawks will wear a seat belt jersey during the game to promote seat belt safety and awareness.
Other promotions include:
- Dog Day Sundays: Dogs are allowed into the ballpark.
- Feed Your Face Mondays: Unlimited select concession items and outside vendor food until the end of the fourth inning.
- Two for Tuesday: $2 for a first-base bleacher seat and a hot dog.
- Thirsty Thursdays: $1 for domestic draft beer and Pepsi products all game.
- Pre-Game Clinic Saturdays: Children can join the team on the field for a pre-game clinic from 6:35 to 6:55 p.m.
- $1 Nights: Hot dogs, snow cones, popcorn and ice cream sandwiches are $1 all game on July 21, Aug. 11 and Sept. 1.
- June 20 (home opener): Magnetic schedule for the first 1,500 fans.
- July 6: Hawks oven mitt for the first 1,000 fans.
- July 14: Hawks hat for the first 1,000 fans.
- July 27: U.S.-themed soccer ball for the first 1,000 children.
- Aug. 11: Gardening knee protector for the first 1,000 fans.
- Sept. 1: Team poster giveaway for the first 1,000 fans.
NEW STADIUM UPDATE
The owners of the Boise Hawks have put their application to build a Downtown stadium on hold until later this summer or this fall. Atlanta-based Greenstone Properties asked for the delay so Boise leaders could rule on rezoning the land at Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive at the same time they consider a conditional use permit.
The plan has met stiff opposition from protestors who don’t want any taxpayer money spent on the stadium, don’t like the location and worry about a lack of parking and increased traffic.
The stadium is projected to cost $36 million from public and private sources and would anchor at least $60 million more worth of privately-built residential, office and retail space.
Greenstone hopes to finish the stadium in time for the 2020 season. The proposed Boise Sports Park would seat 5,000 fans for baseball and 7,500 for minor league soccer, which the owners are also trying to bring to Boise.
BACK ON THE RADIO
The Hawks return to the airwaves this summer with 101.5 FM broadcasting their games. Coverage for all 78 games begins 15 minutes before first pitch. Fans can also listen at BoiseHawks.com and via the MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio apps.
The Hawks dropped their radio contract when the current ownership took over the team in 2015, making Boise just the fourth of the 150 minor league markets above the rookie leagues not to broadcast its games on the radio. It offered an online-only broadcast the past two seasons.