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Hip, hop, hooray!


We'll admit it. When we got the email alert that the new Hillsboro pro baseball team had a name, we were a bit surprised by the choice.

It wasn't the alliteration that threw us. (The Hillsboro Hawks was a leading candidate in our informal office pool.) It was the decision to name the team after an obscure agricultural product.

The Hillsboro Hops.

But, the name (much like the fragrant, climbing vine itself) quickly grew on us.

The choice works on a variety of levels.

First, it's a nod to the region's agricultural roots. Even though most of Oregon's hops are grown a bit south of here, fields of humulus lupulus were once common in this part of Washington County.

Second, the word "hop" is also used in baseball lingo, which makes linguaphiles like us smile. We already have several headlines in mind.

Finally, the choice has huge marketing potential. No other professional or college team has used the name, which means it will generate a lot of interest, not only from sports fans, but also beer lovers.

Pro sports teams rely on merchandise sales as part of their business model. Every cap that the Hops sell to a homebrewer in Boston (or Berlin) is money coming from outside our city to support a team that has vowed to keep ticket prices down and its community support up.

So, we're convinced that this inspired name is just one more "hopful" sign of what baseball will bring to Hillsboro.