I find it astounding how many people say baseball is boring. I know these people are wrong, and I am not afraid to tell them so. “You need to see it live,” I say. This comment is nearly always met with derision and rolling eyes. I don’t care. I love baseball and I think it’s terribly exciting. So, when I bought tickets to an upcoming Hillsboro Hops game (A Short League Affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball), I was pleased at how excited my wife was for the experience.
The day of the game came and, since we were visiting some friends in Orenco Station, and since I didn’t feel like shelling out $5 for parking, we decided to walk the one mile to Ron Tonkin Feld directly across from Hondo Dog Park. The late evening was perfect, warm, but not hot, crystal clear — baseball weather! It was Star Wars Night at the Stadium and all manner of Princess Leias, Chewbaccas, Darth Vaders and Luke Skywalkers occupied the baseball galaxy with us.
For $11 a pop, I did not expect good seats but, as we made our way to our seats, we were two rows from the field, directly in front of third base, which, that night, was manned masterfully by Josh Anderson. We were warned to look out for flying baseballs and bats. We sat next to the opposing dugout, and were fascinated by how young these professional athletes looked.
From this close, we could hear the cracks of the bats, and the conversations from the players on the field. This was better than watching on television or listening on the radio. This was immersive, made all the more so by the fact that the Empire lost to the home team Rebels, 8-2. The backdrop of dogs running at Hondo, the Kiss Cam, team mascot Barley Hop “taking us out to the ball game”,the family friendly atmosphere and the home team victory made for a resounding and repeatable experience. It was one I would do again, share with anyone, and advocate for strongly.
These athletes are long shot Major Leaguers and are grossly under paid, but they play with a passion and love for the game that is sometimes missing from the players on the Big Stage. It’s a homey experience full of nostalgia, joy, and fun. And, as we walked back to Orenco Station on a night that had turned cool, I had made a baseball fan out of my wife, and I couldn’t be happier!
The Hillsboro Hops play a short season, so, don’t miss out. Order your tickets online today and don’t miss out on getting #AllHoppedUp.