Baseball fans eager to learn new team name

MADISON, Ala. -- This week, baseball fans will find out who they'll be cheering for. On Wednesday, owners of the new minor league baseball team will choose its new mascot.

It's about a year and seven months until opening day, and project leaders have a lot of work to do before that team takes the field.

The holiday provides a rare day off at the new baseball stadium site in Madison.

"I ride my bike around here a lot," Gabriel Horowitz-Terrell said.

For three months, workers have been moving tons of red dirt, making the area an attractive place for Gabriel to ride his bike.

"They say as long as I stay out of their way, I'm good," Horowitz-Terrell said.

"Now it looks like a combat zone," Representative Mike Ball said. The new park is right behind Ball's home.

With a giant red crater just a short walk from their backyards, it's hard for some neighbors to visualize what'll be a new ballpark and hotel resort.

"Huntsville, Madison, Madison County. We didn't get where we are by standing still," the 10th district representative said.

They may not know what the park will look like just yet, but in a few days, baseball fans will find out who'll be the face of the franchise, when Ballcorps leaders announce the winning team name.

"Space Chimps on a hat or a t-shirt, if it was a cool design," Horowitz-Terrell said.

"I'm partial to the Trash Pandas," Travis Nixon said, who is a baseball fan.

"I'll take any of those critters. They're all good critters," Ball said.

For project leaders, there is a bigger concern than just what they're going to stitch on the new caps and jerseys -  making sure fans can get in and out of the new ballpark with ease. The two northbound lanes of Zierdt Road aren't finished yet. And leaders are waiting for a new exit to be built off I-565 so fans don't have to take a long way around to get here.

"It would be a nightmare, that exit has got to get done before the ballgames start," Ball said.

Fortunately, Ball says they have the money to build it, but is hopeful it'll be finished next year. BallCorps leaders hope for an April 2020 opening day.

You're invited to the team name reveal party happening this Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Rocket Republic Brewing Company at 289 Production Avenue in Madison.