HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Baseball fans spent most of 2020 waiting and wishing to see the Rocket City Trash Pandas take Toyota field. So the big question, will the Tennessee Valley get to see their home team play this spring?
Trash Pandas President and CEO Ralph Nelson said the simple answer is, yes! It may not be a traditional April opening day, but you can expect to see the pandas take the field some time between May and June.
Although the major leagues recently announced a delay in spring training for Double-A players and below, Nelson said the decision is not set in stone.
In fact, if there’s chance for the players to be vaccinated by early March, he said they’ll be able to share the camp with the major leagues. If not, the players will have a full but separate spring training in April.
“It’s really a logistical issue and keeping the players safe,” Nelson said. “But the good news is we can still play the same number of games except instead of playing from April to the end of August, we’d be playing from May to the beginning of October,” Nelson said. “So we are enthusiastic and optimistic.”
It’s been about six years since the Huntsville Stars left the state and Nelson is thankful for the patience and spirit of North Alabama’s fans.
“I’m just so happy that the community has of course embraced the team, embraced the team name, visited the stadium even though we didn’t have baseball,” Nelson said. “And most of our ticket holders just said, ‘look honor my ticket next year,’ they didn’t ask for refunds. Our fans have waited a long time and so I’m just excited to put a game on the field.”
Toyota Field hosted lots of events in 2020 to make up for the lost season. Nelson said that has been a huge learning experience, and makes him confident when baseball begins, they’ll be ready for fans to fill the stands.