HILLSBORO, Ore. — Hillsboro Hops officials said Wednesday they've received an invitation to continue the thriving franchise's relationship, in a higher league, with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Hops are set to become the Diamondbacks Single-A Advanced affiliate, meaning they'll play 132 regular season games, including 66 at Ron Tonkin Field. The Hops were previously a short-season Single-A team that played 76 total games. The Hops season will now begin in April, as opposed to mid-June.
The moves come after months-long rumblings that Major League Baseball hoped to consolidate many of its minor-league affiliations as a cost-cutting move.
In Hillsboro, the Hops regularly attracts thousands of baseball fans to its tidy and comfortable layout. The team has become a reliable part of the city's fabric.
"Being promoted to Single-A Advanced is a tremendous opportunity," said KL Wombacher, the team's president. "It is a testament to the success we’ve had in Hillsboro since 2013. We have a great recipe with a first-class facility, outstanding fans, and a supportive community that lead to Hillsboro being a perfect place to develop big leaguers."
The team launched eight seasons ago in Hillsboro. Wombacher said the Hops will soon reveal new safety protocols for fans looking to attend games in 2021.
San Francisco Chronicle writer Henry Schulman, who covers the San Francisco Giants, tweeted that the Giants have selected Eugene as its Single-A Advanced affiliate site. The team would play its games at PK Park, also home to the University of Oregon's baseball team. The Giants hadn't announced their intentions as of press time.
Apparently lost in the shuffle: The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, which have served as the Giants' short-season Single A team since 1997.
Shortly after 11 a.m., the Volcanoes' Twitter account posted a photo with the following message: "Best of luck to the @SFGiants. Through our 26 year partnership, 112 players made it to The Show, we won 7 (Division) titles and 5 NWL championships. Our next chapter will be just as fun."