Trash Pandas to reopen store Feb. 1

After shattering every known Minor League Baseball record for brand popularity in 2018, the Rocket City Trash Pandas have temporarily closed the Trash Pandas Emporium at Bridge Street Town Center.

However, the team will reopen the store Feb. 1 as a combined merchandise and ticket center. The grand reopening will feature previously unavailable, but high-in-demand merchandise, along with updated information on ticket packages and seating options.

Since the Emporium opened Nov. 12, the team has sold more than 32,000 items at the Bridge Street location. This is combined with 3,470 online orders, most for multiple items, from around the world since Oct. 27. This is a record amount of online sales, shattering the mark of 1,022 for three months, set by the El Paso Chihuahuas.

“North Alabama not only chose a nickname that numerous national publications have called the best in sports, but our community has come out in record numbers to support their brand,” said BallCorps Managing Partner and Trash Pandas’ CEO Ralph Nelson. “It is amazing and unprecedented to see this level of support more than 16 months before the first pitch. Our team store at Bridge Street (was) always full and … fans donning Trash Panda apparel can be seen everywhere in the region.

” Our fans have been clear that they’d like the store to stay open and have requested great new merchandise items – we are happy to comply.”

Although the Emporium is closed this month, merchandise is available online at Season ticket information is available on the Trash Pandas website or by calling 256-325-1403.

Trash Pandas to Unveil Logos, Team Colors on Saturday

MADISON — Amidst a cavalcade of music, fireworks and unprecedented excitement, the Rocket City Trash Pandas will unveil their team colors and six – yes, 6 – logos at a grand celebration Saturday night in Madison’s Dublin Park.

“We are just so grateful for the unprecedented support we’ve received from Madison, Huntsville and throughout North Alabama, beginning with the largest crowd for a groundbreaking ceremony and highest participation in a naming contest in Minor League Baseball history – all the way to the most demand for merchandise that anybody in our industry has ever seen,” said BallCorps Managing Partner Ralph Nelson. “It’s our honor to put on this concert and fireworks show to thank this amazing community and celebrate its incredible support.”

The team has selected six logos, four team colors, and a unique lettering template, to be featured on T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and non-uniform caps, all of which will be available for purchase in the temporary Trash Panda Emporium, in the gymnasium at Dublin Park following the unveiling ceremony.

The team name was chosen Sept. 5, culminating a two-month “Name the Team” contest which included nearly 30,000 nominations and votes.

“The Rocket City Trash Pandas launch received more engagement and more national attention than any launch in Minor League Baseball history,” said Jason Klein of Brandiose, the Minor League Baseball industry’s premiere branding partner. “Fans are going to love seeing the experience come to life over the next year.”

Saturday’s free event starts at 6 p.m. with a concert by the band Dirt Circus. The unveiling is set for 6:43 p.m. and the fireworks extravaganza will launch around 8 p.m.

Those who plan to attend are asked to park at Bob Jones High School with shuttle service to Dublin Park beginning at 5:15. Blankets and lawn chairs are recommended for the concert and fireworks show.

Welcome the Rocket City Trash Pandas!


MADISON – In front of a packed Rocket Republic Brewery crowd, the Rocket City Trash Pandas was unveiled as the name of the new baseball team.

And Ralph Nelson, the managing partner/CEO of BallCorps, LLC, the team’s owner, wasn’t particularly enthralled with the name when it was nominated.

“When I first heard it, it didn’t do a lot for me,” he said at Wednesday’s unveiling celebration.

But now?

“This is all we care about,” Nelson said. “They voted for Rocket City; they voted for Trash Pandas.

“That’s going to be the team now.”

On BallCorps’ website,, 28,560 nominations and votes were recorded in three
rounds since the stadium groundbreaking June 9. According to Brandiose of San Diego, the Minor League Baseball industry’s premiere branding partner, this represents – by far – the largest community participation in a Name the Team contest in the history of Minor League Baseball.

“(Trash Pandas) won by a ’84 Reagan landslide,” Nelson said. “There’s never been a community like this in minor league baseball.”

Trash Pandas was nominated by Matthew Higley of Lacey’s Spring on June 19. He will receive two box seats for the first five years of play in Madison and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Trash Pandas home game in 2020.
Trash Pandas dominated both rounds of voting. In the round of 10, Trash Pandas received 41.37 percent of the votes. The second-place name (ThunderSharks) received 13.81 percent.

In the round of five, Trash Pandas received 44.75 percent, to second-place ThunderSharks’ 19.25 percent. Moon Possums was third (12.57 percewnt); Space Chimps fourth (12.05 percent); and, Comet Jockeys was fifth (11.38 percent).

The regional identifier was also chosen by the community. More than 250 fans suggested Rocket City during the nominating round. The identifier was put to a vote during the round of ten; and, out of 13,559 votes, 67.4 percent chose Rocket City, over North Alabama (18.09 percent) and Madison (14.51 percent).

Trash Pandas, slang for raccoon, was included in the original 10 nominations following several Brandiose-
led focus groups in Madison and Huntsville. The ballot descriptor read: Our community is known for engineering, and no creature in our galaxy is as smart, creative, determined and ingenious a problem solver – dedicated to the challenge at hand – as our local raccoons!

Brandiose is working with BallCorps on logo designs for the Rocket City Trash Pandas. Logos
and merchandise will be unveiled on Oct. 27 at a free community celebration at 6 p.m. at Dublin Park in Madison. The event will feature a free concert by popular Huntsville band Dirt Circus and a fireworks extravaganza, as well as the first opportunity for fans to purchase official licensed Rocket City Trash Panda merchandise.

“We’re going to have a big ol’ party …,” Nelson said.

BallCorps will open a merchandise store next to the Apple Store at Bridge Street on Nov. 12 and, Nov. 17, the team will begin taking season ticket deposits at $250 per seat.

Seat locations will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis for those making deposits. More information on the Bridge Street store and season ticket policy will be forthcoming in coming weeks.

Madison ballpark: They haven’t built it, but hundreds did come

MADISON – If the line of cars on Zierdt Road and the hundreds of people who showed up for a groundbreaking ceremony were any indication, baseball has definitely returned to North Alabama.

Close to 1,000 future fans of the yet-t0-be-named minor league baseball team turned out Saturday as BallCorps Inc. and the city of Madison broke ground for a $46 million baseball/multi-use facility. Fans received commemorative baseballs as well as free hot dogs and soft drinks.

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the new Madison baseball facility was held Saturday. Photo by Marianne Higgins

The groundbreaking event took place at the site of the facility  – a “barren field,” as Madison Mayor Paul Finley put it – along Interstate 565 and Zierdt Road.

It is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019 and the complex will include a Hotel Margaritaville. Plans are for the facility to hold other events, outside the 70 regular season baseball games.

“There will be movies in the park, car shows, Scouting events; companies can hold events at the facility,” Finley said. “This venue will make a difference in the quality of life” in Madison.

Ralph Nelson, the managing partner and CEO of BallCorps – the team’s owner, was emotional as he spoke.

“I have just two words: thank you,” he said. “Thank you for inviting us into your community and thank you for welcoming us into your community.”

Then, Nelson, who has been involved in professional baseball for a quarter of a century, paused.

“This is the best day in my baseball career,” he said. “In 675 days (June 19, 2020), we’re going to be playing ball in Madison.”

Artist’s rendering shows Madison’s new baseball stadium with a swimming pool behind the centerfield scoreboard.