Some frustration as Trash Pandas gear runs short

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MADISON, Ala. - North Alabama's new minor league baseball team won't take the field for another year, but Trash Pandas fans are already buying big on team merchandise.

Some customers are getting frustrated because they can't get their hands on some of the gear.

A few days after Christmas, foot traffic at Bridge Street hasn't slowed down.

Fans are drawn to the odd name for the team.

"We love the name, it's hilarious," baseball fan Sam Lowrance said.

After two full months of sales, BallCorps leaders have set a league record for Rocket City Trash Pandas merchandise, but the record comes at a price.

"We couldn't keep enough inventory in stock," BallCorps CEO Ralph Nelson said.

Fans are shocked at the pace of sales.

"I am surprised. We came in looking for shirts and they didn't have a lot of common sizes, the larges, extra larges. They sold out really quick," Lowrance said.

Nelson says the Bridge Street store and online orders have surpassed $650,000 but, in two days, he says his team is taking a break.

"I don't know of any orders that didn't make it. There are about 100 orders right now in the online store we're trying to track down," Nelson said.

Nelson says closing the store temporarily allows them to do some redecorating, but also to buy some time while they wait for more of the merchandise to be made.

The fitted caps, for example, will be in short supply. They're made by New Era.

Last month, the company announced it's moving from Buffalo to Miami, and the next order of hats may not be ready until the end of March.

Fans are willing to wait for the merchandise.

"I don't mind waiting for a good thing. I think it's good for the city," Lowrance said.

Nelson says the shop will reopen in February with more Pandas gear and ticket info. He says they've taken deposits for around 500 season ticket holders.

"And to think we're still 16 months until we play a game, it's pretty fascinating," Nelson said.

It's early enthusiasm for the team, while contractors at Town Madison have a park to build.

Nelson says the new ballpark is expected to be finished by December 2019, with opening day is set for April 15th, 2020.

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