GARDEN CITY, Idaho (CBS2) — The Boise Hawks have worked on reconstructing a roster while adapting to new rules, in preparation for the Pioneer Baseball League season.
Boise finished 30-66 last season, the worst record in the league. Hawks VP and GM Mike Van Hise attributed last season's unfavorable results to the league, of which Boise is relatively new. The Hawks only joined the Pioneer Baseball League in 2021, and Van Hise said that management is learning to adapt their roster to best suit the league.
"The biggest thing we learned last year was roster construction," Van Hise said. "(We're) figuring out what's going to work, what's not going to work. We're in the new world of Pioneer League baseball, and so, (we're) figuring out whether it's an offensive league or a defensive league."
Van Hise has helped aid Gary Van Tol, the Hawks' manager, in the search for new players to fill out the roster. The two are traveling to Arizona this weekend for the Pioneer Baseball League's spring tryouts. Van Tol also previously took a trip to Puerto Rico for scouting purposes.
"Gary Van Tol, our manager, went to Puerto Rico this past year in December to look at some prospects," Van Hise said.
In addition to new players, the team has to prepare for new rules, both on and off the diamond.
The MLB introduced sweeping changes to the game this year. MLB banned "the shift", and introduced a pitch clock, along with several other tweaks.
For the Pioneer Baseball League, they will follow suit in banning "the shift." The league is also introducing a pitch clock, but it is not tweaking the base size (the MLB made bases larger for this season).
Van Hise says it will take some time to get used to the new rules, and that it would impact the team in its first few games.
"Yeah, so this year we've added pitch clocks," Van Hise said. "They're being installed at this time. And banned the shift. So, unfortunately, we don't get the opportunity for a month of spring training to work out the kinks, so those first couple of games are going to be pretty tight. That's why we have three exhibition games, so we can work on the pitch clocks, not only as an operation here with our press box and working with the umpires, but also as a team."
As of April 13, the Hawks have installed a pitch clock for the pitcher, but not one in the outfield for the batter and umpire to see.
A lot of the operation is not finished, due to poor weather conditions. Cold temperatures delayed the team from laying new sod, which will go around the infield and in outfield areas that need it most. Still, the team is projected to have everything ready a few weeks ahead of Opening Day.
The Hawks will hold a few exhibition games before Opening Day. Boise will face the Black Sox, a team from New Jersey, May 14 and 15. They'll then face the Idaho Falls Chukars May 19 and 20.
Opening Day is May 23, and the Hawks will face Idaho Falls at 7:05 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
As the Hawks will out their roster, the team also needs seasonal staff for a wide variety of positions. The team is hosting a Seasonal Job Fair, Saturday, April 15th at Memorial Stadium.
"We're going to have almost every job available whether it's working with the clubhouse with our team, to ticket-takers, to ushers, to our food and beverage servers... and so we're encouraging people to come down, and come down early, and interview with our staff for a great summer job," Van Hise said.
Van Hise said that interested applicants should show up with an ID and their social security number, as the Hawks will hire staff then and there.
The Hawks released their 2023 Promotional Schedule Friday, April 13.
Memorial Stadium will host several themed nights throughout the Hawks' season. There are highlighted promotions and weekly promotions, in addition to appearances from Boise State Athletes.
The Hawks will host a "Food Truck Feastival" May 13th, before the team begins exhibitions May 14.
For a full look at the Hawk's Promotional Schedule, click here.