I am so glad that baseball is coming back to this neck of the woods! I can’t tell you how bitter I was when I found out that major league soccer would be playing in the old PGE Park. The place was old but well worn like my high school baseball hat. The place still keeps the ghosts of a venue where people would dress in suits to go to the game, pitchers threw high and tight, and the only performance enhancers were that extra cup of coffee and topical horse anti-inflammatory.
I miss the majesty of that old ballpark, but as hard as it is for me to admit, its time had passed. I stopped wearing that old baseball hat too.
The Hops hats aren’t available yet, but you can bet as soon as I can get my hands on one, I will be showing my Hillsboro Hops love.. Hillsboro is the perfect place for a Northwest League, Short Season Single A Baseball team. Hillsboro is the just edges out Beaverton as being Oregon’s 5th largest city with nearly 90,000 residents. The market is perfect. Its a young and expanding suburbia full of kids who will attend their first baseball game wondering what the heck a Hop is and why the mascot looks like a cross between Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird. To this day I remember my first single A game. I saw the Eugene Ems and my friend tried to convince me that a grand slam was a ball that was hit out of the stadium and I asked for the bat boys autograph after the game.
I can already see it, Kids standing up, shakin’ and dancin’ to “Danny and the Jurors’ “At the Hop” as the mascot bounces his big grinning hop bud body. And this is how families fall in love. Mom is happy that the kids are happy. Dad is happy to be sharing America’s pastime with kids and maybe even prompting a game of catch. They’re both happy because they can sit back and enjoy a beer as the kids bounce around the, the inflatable, you guessed it, “Hoppy Castle.”
Did someone mention beer? I’m counting the days until Thirsty Third Thursday. A day that will pull yuppies and hipsters on MAX trains to Hillsboro from the Pearl to Alberta and as far as Gresham. Local music plays before the game and a lively social beer deck doesn’t watch the game. And as for the beer batter, are you kidding me!? I can already hear the music playing after the second strike. Fans ask each other what the featured beer is this week. 1st strikeout, one dollar off; second strike out, two dollars off, and the magical hat trick makes beer half priced!
The Hillsboro Hops was a great idea. I can’t wait to see what life it takes on. Please subscribe to my RSS feed to keep up on latest news, commentary and profiles from the team.
Heres to the Hops!