The Hillsboro Hops, the High-A affiliate for the Diamondbacks, are set to build a new ballpark to meet the new standards set by MLB when they realigned the minor leagues.
In a press conference, Hops President and General Manager K.L. Wombacher said that when they signed the new professional development league contract with MLB in 2020, all 120 teams had to agree to the new facility standards.
“We looked at this as an opportunity; first, we wanted to dream big,” Wombacher said. “First, it led us to a renovation, and they spent a ton of work on what it would take to renovate this facility to meet the standards. It just got to the point where it was too complex, too expensive, too challenging, and it was going to be tough to meet the timeline. We pivoted, and now we’re looking at it. We’re going to build a brand new ballpark, and this is going to be the best venue in the country. It’s going to be right next door. We can watch it be built as we play baseball.”
The new ballpark will be built right across from the current ballpark, Ron Tonkin Field, on the northwest side of the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex. Originally, the plan was to renovate Ron Tonkin Field. However, once a preliminary design and analysis were finished, it was decided it’d be more cost-effective to build a brand new ballpark. The team hopes to break ground in late summer and intends to start playing in the new ballpark beginning with the April 2025 season. The new ballpark will have a capacity of 6,000 for baseball and up to 7,000 for concerts and other events. Under a licensing agreement with the City of Hillsboro, the Hops will have full control over the new ballpark. The majority of the funding for the new ballpark will come through private financing from the team.
Hops Chairman and CEO Mike McMurray said they can provide new career opportunities, gathering opportunities, and enhance the player development experience in a way they couldn’t have even envisioned when he and his wife Laura bought the team.
Since moving from Yakima, Washington, to Hillsboro, Oregon, prior to the 2013 season, they’ve been very successful, winning three Northwest League championships in 2014, 2015, and 2019. The Northwest League was moved up to the High-A level prior to the 2021 season after previously being a Single-A Short Season league. In their time at the short-season level and in their two seasons so far at the High-A level, the Hops have compiled an overall record of 421-352. During their time at the short-season level, the Hops only missed the playoffs in their inaugural season in Hillsboro. While they’ve missed the playoffs in their first two seasons at the High-A level, it should be noted that it wasn’t because they were necessarily struggling to play well. Rather, the Hops promoted a handful of players throughout the past two seasons to higher levels. This should also be a testament to the level of talent that the Diamondbacks have put through Hillsboro.
Part of the reason that the Diamondbacks have sent such high-level talent to the Hops are their facilities, so the new one should only continue to bolster that talent coming through.