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While the city of Portland may not have an MLB baseball team, yet, that doesn't mean fans of America's greatest pastime cannot catch a professional game in-state.
Good news for them, the Hillsboro Hops announced the signing of a 10-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks to be their Single - A-Advanced affiliate and increase from a half-season team to a full-season. The Hops schedule will increase from 76 to 132 games spanning from April to early September.
The team released a fun video to announce the news.
LIVE: HILLSBORO HOPS TO FORMALLY DECLARE FULL SEASON AFFILIATION pic.twitter.com/FJNMFKrSEd
— Hillsboro Hops (@HillsboroHops) February 12, 2021
"As a result of the higher level of designation, there will also be a higher level of talent, with players likely to stick around longer in Hillsboro," wrote the franchise in a press release.
MLB's Professional Development League replaces the prior organization of affiliated minor leagues. The Hops were handpicked to be one of 120 teams to participate in the new system
“We are excited to unveil this new model, which not only provides a pipeline to the Majors, but continues the Minor Leagues’ tradition of entertaining millions of families in hundreds of communities," wrote Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob D. Manfred Jr.
"In modernizing our Minor League system, we prioritized the qualities that make the Minor Leagues such an integral part of our game while strengthening how we develop professional athletes on and off the field. We look forward to demonstrating the best of our game throughout local communities, supporting all those who are working hard to grow the sport, and sharing unrivaled technology and resources with minor league teams and players."
Facility advancements required with the signing will be announced at a later date.
The Hillsboro Hops will begin their ninth season as a Diamondbacks’ affiliate, first in a full-season capacity, and 21st year of the partnership dating back to Yakima (2001-12). The Hops spent the previous 8 campaigns (2013-20) as Arizona’s Short-Season A representative, winning 3 league titles (2014-15, ’19).
“Signing this agreement with Major League Baseball is a landmark day for our franchise,” said Hillsboro Hops President KL Wombacher. “From greater investments in our facilities to partnering with MLB on national marketing and broadcast opportunities, this new partnership will truly be major league.”
The Hops will soon communicate additional news regarding the season schedule as well as safety protocols for fans attending games at Ron Tonkin Field prior to the 2021 baseball season.