MADISON – Fans who have waited for professional baseball to return to North Alabama will now have to wait a little longer.
Minor League Baseball announced the cancellation of the 2020 season, which would have been the historic opening campaign for the Trash Pandas. Instead, 2021 will serve as the inaugural mission for the Double-A affiliate of the Angels.
“Obviously, this is an incredibly disappointing day for our fans, staff, and partners,” said team President and CEO Ralph Nelson. “But the health and safety of our families and community is paramount above all else. Baseball has always been part of the healing when our country has come back from tragic times, and I firmly believe the Trash Pandas will help heal North Alabama when we come out on the other side of this pandemic an even stronger community.”
The Trash Pandas will announce policies and procedures as they relate to tickets purchased for 2020 baseball games. Fans will not lose any value for the tickets they have already bought, the team said.
In fact, the team is switching from a baseball operation to an event/retail business to make up for the lost revenue from the baseball season being canceled.
The team has been setting merchandise sales records for Minor League Baseball and is approaching nearly $3 million in sales through the Emporium at Bridge Street Town Centre, the Junkyard at Toyota Field and its online store shoptrashpandas.com.
The Trash Pandas were the first MiLB team to process international online orders and have had merchandise shipped to Canada, England, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Obviously, merchandise has been our home run hitter since we unveiled our team name and logo in 2018,” Nelson said. “The opportunity … to welcome international orders will only help expand the Trash Panda name across the globe.”
The Trash Pandas have held “Block Parties” on Friday nights at Toyota Field, featuring bands, trivia contests on the videoboard and fireworks. They recently held a screening of the movie “Angels in the Outfield” and fans sat on the outfield grass to watch.
This weekend, they are hosting an Independence Eve Block Party and a massive Fourth of July celebration, featuring live entertainment, activities for kids of all ages and, of course, fireworks. For Friday’s event, admission is $10, kids 2 and under are free. The Fourth of July admission is $10 per person, kids 2 and under are free and parking is $6 per vehicle.
On July 10, the team will show “Field of Dreams” and fans can “have a catch” before the film. The Pepsi Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and showtime is set for 7. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for kids ages 12 & under, kids 2 and under are admitted free. There is no charge for parking. Trash Pandas Nation full-season ticket holders will have the opportunity to gain early entry through the Trustmark VIP Lobby beginning at 5 p.m.
The Trash Pandas have also hosted week-long kids’ camps, instructional baseball/softball camps and baseball travel-ball tournaments.
“We had events 26 of the 30 days in June,” Nelson said. “July will have even more.”
For information, visit trashpandasbaseball.com.
“These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history that we’ve had a summer without Minor League Baseball played,” said MiLB President and CEO Pat O’Conner. “This announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”