Wow. That’s what I have to say after this Summer. I pursued an opportunity to work for a minor league baseball franchise in Hillsboro, Oregon this summer. I applied to the Hillsboro Hops for last season and didn’t make it. This year I made it. I’m glad I did. I met many great people and some unexpected guests such as Major League Baseball (MLB) Hall of Famer Tony La Russa. I had a great summer and will have the memories forever. I have to admit that I got kind of emotional when the Hops were eliminated by the Eugene Emeralds in the deciding game 3 in the first round of the Northwest League playoffs. It was my first paid job and I loved it. I handed out programs, scanned tickets, and sometimes covered party decks if I didn’t close covering the gate before the game ended and say goodbye to the fans leaving. I had a great supervisor and couldn’t have asked for a better place to work with such a great crew! Until next season Go Hops and stay All Hopped Up!
On August 22nd, 2016 we had a couple big surprises. First, Arena Football League (AFL) player KC Obi of the Portland Steel showed up to the game, it was cool to meet him since I’m a big indoor/arena football fan. He also came the next two days, at one point he asked how much tickets are. I think he got hooked when he came to the game on the 22nd. A little while later my supervisor came to the gate where my co-workers and I were. He started wandering around which made me curious. Then another employee came to the railing and looked down at the parking lot. By this time I was thinking what is going on, we then hear that MLB Hall of Famer Tony La Russa who works in the Arizona Diamondbacks front office had pulled in. The team I work for is the Single-A Short Season affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. When Tony La Russa walked in he came to the front gate and we all got to shake his hand which was pretty cool, it was an unbelievable moment. The next day when I was at the top of the stairs handing out programs I saw him again, I took the opportunity to shake his hand again. Nobody in the Hops organization knew he was coming. It was a total surprise to everyone. It was really cool and unbelievable to be able to shake an MLB Hall of Famer’s hand two days in a row!
When you go to a minor league baseball game you see the teams and some staff members, but what you don’t realize is that it takes a team to make a game day run smoothly. We’re the people who scan your tickets, hand you programs and sometimes promotional items. Some of us are stationed at each section to keep you entertained between half innings and hold signs so you know when its ok to return to your section after returning from the concourse. During the game there’s always 2 or 3 of us at the main gate getting fans in that come late and closing down putting away the entrance tent. Occasionally an issue comes up that we take care so that you can continue to enjoy your night. Then when you leave either before or after the game we’re there to say goodbye and wish you a great rest of your day or night. We love our job and enjoy seeing you have a great time at the ballpark!
From day one when I got hired by the Single-A Short Season Hillsboro Hops I knew I was a part of something special, even if we don’t win a third straight championship. I get along with everybody I work with and I have a great supervisor. I’ve already made memories with fellow staff that we sometimes talk about. Yeah there’s a rude fan here or there, but that’s life. When handing out programs or scanning tickets it’s always really nice to get a compliment from someone when you tell them to have a great time at the game, makes me feel good. One event I remember was on Star Wars night, I was handing out programs when a Snowtrooper came up and asked for a program, so I thought. I was scrambling between two aisles of the stairway and didn’t realize the Snowtrooper actually wanted to help me. Made me laugh, I’ve told quite a few people about that. Recently I had a day off and went to a game with a friend, we were standing in line and a fan says you’re not working tonight? I was thinking wait what he recognized me? I was like nope, I’m working tomorrow and Sunday, he then informed me that he didn’t think he’d be at the game tomorrow, but that he would be on Sunday. Then when I was up on the concourse a staff member noticed me and was like hey and gave me a high five. I was thinking man this is cool, a fan recognized me and now a fellow staff member high fives me. I love Ron Tonkin Field and the Hillsboro Hops. I don’t think I could ask for a better place to work, this is my first job too. I got turned down the first time I applied, I didn’t even get contacted to come to callbacks last year. This year I got all the way from casting calls through callbacks and got hired. Don’t give up if you don’t get what you want the first time. Get experience, I know that was something I had going for me, even if it was all volunteer up until being hired by the Hops.
A couple years ago I applied to the Hillsboro Hops to be part of their game day staff. I didn’t get a callback. This year I not only got a callback, but I got through the 2nd stage of callbacks. When I was invited to the 2nd round of callbacks I was super excited. I went to callbacks and I was still thinking wow, this is actually happening and I’m only one callback away from working here. After callbacks I was feeling pretty good about how it went. Then the waiting game started again as we were told that we’d be getting called to know how it went. It was hard to be totally focused on school for a short time, then it came. I was driving home from school and my cell phone rang, since I was driving I had to ignore it. You can probably guess what was on my mind the rest of the drive home, who called and if it was the Hops what did they decide? When I got home you know what I did, check to see what the message said. When I saw a 503 area code I was like oh my gosh, it has to be them…and it was. They wanted me to work for the team and come to orientation in a few weeks. I was beyond excited. Orientation went great! My first week went well, I learned what to do, how things were done, and what was expected of us. Basically a month in now and it’s going great!