HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - We've been waiting for more than two years for the first ball game in Madison, but we'll have to wait a little while longer. The Rocket City Trash Pandas debut is on hold because of the COVID pandemic.
Even though the Pandas have never played a game, there is already a loyal fanbase!
CEO Ralph Nelson says of course he is disappointed the Pandas won’t play their first game at Toyota Field Wednesday night, but he says he is hopeful there will still be at least a partial season this year.
He tells us this week he has been talking with the with president of Minor League Baseball, and other owners.
He says based on those talks he believes the season could be extended to October.
Nelson also tells us their player roster isn’t finalized. Nelson says the leagues are also talking about eliminating all star games and abbreviating play offs so fans can enjoy as many home games as possible.
“Everybody feels player development is a very important thing and major league teams don't want their players to play too much of an abbreviated season because it's all about developing major league players so they’re going to want to get in as many games as possible,” Nelson said.
Nelson says they have sold $2.6 million worth of merchandise already. And they have 1,900 season ticket holders.
Nelson tells me they were only projected to have 1,200.
Nelson says it’s this support that has made it possible to keep all their fulltime employees on the payroll.
Some good news, although you will have to wait to see them play in person, the Trash Pandas are having a virtual game tonight on twitch and Facebook.
The Trash pandas are having a "virtual opening day" on social media, with merchandise deals, giveaways and other fun surprises, so check that out.
Nelson says they are disappointed the real game won’t be Wednesday night, but he’s seen baseball be put on hold before, and has no doubt it will be back.
“I was in San Francisco in 1989 when we had an earthquake right in the middle of the World Series and we had to delay the World Series for 17 days. I was in the commissioners office in 2001 when 9/11 delayed baseball for two weeks. When baseball comes back it always seems to come back a little bit stronger and a little bit better and I’m sure that's going to be the case this time,” Nelson said.
Click here to check out the full list of events for the virtual opening day!