BigPapaKiski and I had the opportunity to see the Hillsboro Hops (Dbacks affiliate) play the Salem/Keizer Volcanoes (SF Giants affiliate) in a Short Season A level game last night. The Hops got off to a good start, but had a tough time in the 7th, and they could not come back from that. Going into the bottom of the 7th, they led 3-2, but Hops reliever Alexander Carreras walked three batters. "Early walks tend to score", pontificated BPK, and sure enough, Volcanoes first-baseman Jonathan Jones hit a three-run triple to take the score to 5-3 Volcanoes. Two more runs were added in the inning, and another in the eighth. (When the bases were loaded and Jones came up to hit, there was a volcano-ish rumble from the loudspeakers. Very entertaining.) The Hops were only able to add one more run. They were plagued with errors last night, committing five in the game. Yogey Perez-Ramos, Hops outfielder, went 4 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. The Hops record now stands at 0-2. They play the Volcanoes again this afternoon.
The Volcanoes stadium is a short drive from our new habitat, so we will probably be going to more games. Minor league baseball is fun -- today the team offered "Breakfast with the Volcanoes" for families. Breakfast with the team, run the bases with Dad, and so on. One thing I need to remember to take next time is a blanket! It was quite chilly by the 7th inning. Humidity? What's that?
When the Volcanoes win, the volcano on the scoreboard sends forth steam. We intend to go see the Hops in their new stadium west of Portland -- maybe they give out beer when they win?
A good crowd at the game, and we were surrounded by people who know baseball, some even keeping score. I kept track of the various team logos on hats and Tshirts -- University of Oregon and Oregon State, of course, but also several Boise State logos. Also saw U of Arizona, Notre Dame, Denver Broncos, and the Portland Timbers (soccer). As for baseball: Giants, DBacks, Mariners, Yankees, Padres, Phillies, Brewers, Tigers, Oakland A's, Hops and Volcanoes.
From reading The Oregonian, the Portland newspaper, there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm about the Hops. Portland hasn't had baseball since the Beavers left in 2010 (insert rant about how MLB essentially elimated the Albuquerque Dukes) and they are delighted that the Yakima Bears have relocated to Hillsboro, and become the Hops.