HILLSBORO, Ore. -- The boys of summer are about to return to Oregon, taking the field in Hillsboro as the Hillsboro Hops.
The team is a single A baseball affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball. The Hops are also part of the Northwest League, which includes teams in Salem-Keizer, Eugene, Boise and elsewhere around the Northwest.
They will play in a brand new $15.5 million stadium built with taxpayer money. The team will use the stadium for 40 days during its first season. The community will be able to rent it when the team is away.
Media day featured a few appearances by players but mostly rain. That’s one reason the field in the new stadium has dirt only at the pitcher’s mound and the batter’s box. The infield, the baselines, and the warning track are all synthetic turf.
"This field is state of the art," said the team’s General Manager K.L. Wombacher. “It’s built for baseball. So all the fibers are supposed to mimic an infield dirt, an infield grass and an outfield grass. So it's state-of-the-art.”
It also drains very quickly—useful on rainy days. Players said they’re used to all turf fields.
“I played turf in college and it’s wonderful,” said infielder Ryan Kinsella.
Kinsella arrived in Hillsboro from Elon University in North Carolina. This is his very first professional season.
“Its going to be great, great weather, great trees, beautiful surroundings. (I) can’t wait to start playing,” he said.
The team owner can’t wait either.
“My wife and I are—as you can imagine, we are baseball rats,” said Mike McMurray with a smile.
He’s a retired insurance consultant who moved the team to Hillsboro from Yakima.
“We love it. And this is how we want to ride out into the sunset. Enjoying baseball and making sure that future generations can enjoy it the way we do,” McMurray said.
The Hops first game is Monday. It sold out in 24 hours. Tickets still remain for games Tuesday and Wednesday in Hillsboro's new stadium.