MADISON, Ala. – The Trash Pandas have hosted block parties and movie nights at Toyota Field, so people have sat in the stands before but never for a baseball game.
This week that’s going to change because the Trash Pandas are hosting the Rocket City Baseball Classic.
“We’ve had a lot of batting practice and a lot of instructional stuff. This is actually going to be a game and it is fitting that it’s gonna be young people from our community and certainly the community was responsible for building this stadium so it’s only right,” Trash Pandas owner Ralph Nelson said.
The tournament will be fifteen travel select teams representing the region and they’ll face off in a round robin tournament.
“Since the very beginning, we’ve said to the city that we’re going to use a stadium for a whole lot more than minor league baseball,” Nelson said. “It’s an opportunity to have baseball and to have the community here, it’s just another one of those things that we’re doing the keep the stadium in the community. We’ve got a lot of young players in the eight, nine, 10 and 11 range of age using it for the last two days, and it’ll be great to see some really good high school players out here.”
Of course, we’re still dealing with COVID-19 but Nelson says they have everything ready to make sure all the players, staff and fans are staying safe this week.
“We will make people enforce social distancing, our staff will be wiping down all the surfaces, our staff will be wearing masks, and we will encourage the fans to do the same thing,” Nelson said. “Everybody’s temperature will be taken when they walk in the ballpark just like mine is every single morning.”
Even though it won’t be a Trash Pandas game, Nelson says he’s just excited to finally see baseball played at Toyota Field.
“I was around youth baseball a lot in my former lives, and so it’ll be fun to watch and to see an actual pitch and hear the umpire yell play ball and and see kids who will be really enthusiastic to appreciate this field, I’m excited for baseball,” Nelson said. “It’s just so great, I mean we were out here so many times watching cranes and tractors and forklifts and now we’re watching baseball and it’s not what we what we had bargained for, but that day will come soon enough.”
For more information on the classic, WHNT has you covered with all of the details.