MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — Somehow time has flown by and the number on the Trash Pandas’ scoreboard counting down the days until Opening Night has hit one.
The Trash Pandas held their annual media day ahead of the season’s first pitch; manager Andy Schatzley and some of the players got to talk to the media about the excitement surrounding the 2023 season.
For Schatzley, does the success from the 2022 season add a level of excitement for 2023?
“We just know how hard it is to win and we know how tight the margins are in the industry, so we’re very proud of what we were able to accomplish a year ago and also very very aware of the challenges that come with navigating a season,” Schatzley said. “because of that “We’re just really interested in keeping our head down tomorrow and trying to get out to a good start tomorrow, so is it exciting yes but no more exciting than it was a year ago.”
Schatzley says the edge that this year’s roster plays with and their professionalism really sticks out to him and he’s excited for the fans to see them take the field.
For the first time in franchise history, the Trash Pandas will open the season on their home field. You might be wondering how excited the team is to take the field at home in their opener, plus what advice do some of the veterans have for the new guys in town?
“The group of guys that we have in that clubhouse are very fun guys to be around which makes it better when you get on the diamond and you actually compete,” Trash Pandas’ pitcher Zac Kristofak said. “I think everybody in our organization has heard about the Rocket City and how great everything is from social media, to the ballpark, to the fans that come the facilities are second to none, so really getting the opportunity to be here and see that first hand is really cool; in the end of the day, I’m ready to get out there and compete and win some baseball games.”
“The energy this year is incredible,” pitcher Eric Torres said. “You can feel the chemistry already building. We had 4-5 spring training games together before we came here and it was something else. I’m super excited I can tell everyone else is excited.”
“I told them to enjoy every minute of it because you don’t get to play many places like this, but at the same time have fun,” outfielder Aaron Whitefield said. “That’s what we did last year and some games didn’t go our way but the majority of the time we just wanted to come out here and have fun. I feel like it resonated to the fans as well to just enjoy the game and I feel like that’s why we had the success we had, so just telling the young guys to keep it rolling.”
First pitch at Toyota Field is set for 6:35 p.m. on Thursday, April 6; the News 19 sports team will be at the field all afternoon and night bringing you full coverage of Opening Night.