BOISE, Idaho — After losing its Minor League Baseball affiliation last year, the Boise Hawks will return to Memorial Stadium a full month sooner and play an additional 20 games when they start their first season in the Pioneer League.
The Hawks' season will start on May 22 with a three-game road series against the Ogden Raptors before they return home on May 26 as part of a six-game series against the Grand Junction Rockies.
The final regular-season game is on the road versus Ogden on Sept. 10.
The Hawks will be playing every day from May 22 to Sept. 10, excluding Tuesdays and August 30.
The Hawks will be at home for Memorial Day with a game against the Rockies, then will play Ogden on the Fourth of July at home and will be playing at home on Sept. 6, Labor Day, against the Rockies again.
Other members of the Pioneer League include the Idaho Falls Chukars, Billings Mustangs, Grand Junction Rockies, Great Falls Voyagers, Missoula Paddleheads, Ogden Raptors, Orem Owlz and the Rocky Mountain Vibes.
Hawks General Manager Mike Van Hise said fans shouldn't expect a different experience now that the team is in a new league, saying while the opponent's jersey colors may change this season, much will stay the same in their first year in the Pioneer League.
"They should expect the exact same experience that we've had in Boise here at Memorial Stadium for the last five or six years," he said. "At the end of the day, it's about fun family affordable entertainment and customer service, and we're excited that while the uniforms on the field may change and the opponents have changed, for the day-to-day fan and the casual fan, nothing will be different in Memorial Stadium than in 2019," he said.
With the Idaho Falls Chukars in the same league, the Hawks finally have a natural in-state rival that will bring bragging rights at the end of the season.
"For the first time, as long as I can remember, we're gonna be playing a team from Idaho. So that's exciting and I think fans will be excited to see that rivalry kind of East-West side rivalry statewide put together," he told KTVB.
The Hawks were part of the Northwest League before joining the Pioneer League in December after Major League Baseball drastically changed the minor league system, leaving 40 teams like the Boise Hawks without an MLB affiliate.
The league was Short-Season Single-A, meaning the season was only 76-games long and the season did not start until June. After MiLB's restructuring, the NWL is now a Class-A Advanced league.
The Hawks were part of the Pioneer League from 1939 to 1963 when they were first known as the Pilots, according to the team.
The president of the Boise Hawks, Jeff Eiseman said the reason the team lost its MLB affiliation was due to the lack of a new stadium for the team.
"We were told our current facility ultimately led to the decision. As we have stated since the day we purchased the Hawks, the venue is a challenge. The failure to not have replaced it in all of these prior years led to this move," he said in a statement.