A Gem Of A Night- Home Opener For Trash Pandas
MADISON- Despite losing the game in extra innings to the visiting Tennessee Smokies, the long-awaited home opener of the Rocket City Trash Pandas was a winner.
The packed house, although many were stuck in long traffic lines and did not arrive well after the first pitch, were part of the history making night where smiling faces of the Trash Pandas’ staff greeted all who made their way into Toyota Field. Simply put- the night was electric.
The evening began with special welcoming speeches, a fly-over by a military plane and the singing of the National Anthem by music superstar Lee Greenwood. After introduction of the entire team and coaching staff, the game got underway with the first pitch in the history of professional baseball at Toyota Field a ball from Trash Pandas’ pitcher Reid Detmers to Zach Davis of the Smokies. The game would go on to extra innings where the good guys lost to the bad guys 4-3, but for most in attendance, the winning was attending a game after four years of preparation.
The first dinger hit at Toyota Field for the pro ranks came from the Smokies’ Levi Jordan that baptized the grounds beyond the outfield fence in the second inning. The first homerun hit by the Trash Pandas came in the fourth inning when Izzy Wilson hit a shot over the right field wall. He also became the first foreign-born player to do the honors at Toyota Field as the 23-year old was born on Saint Maarten, Antilles.
Trash Pandas’ general manager Garrett Fahrmann could be seen throughout the evening in just about every spot in Toyota Field greetings fans, handling issues that arose and helping those with questions about the first evening of professional baseball in North Alabama since 2014 when the Huntsville Stars closed shop after 30 seasons at Huntsville’s Joe Davis Stadium. Now, the new team is setting new memories for many who were never in Huntsville to experience the previous teams.
In between inning contests were held with the most memorable being “Are You Smarter Than A Trash Panada.” A selected member of the crowd was asked to name three items from the 1990’s from photographs compared to the answers given by a member of the Trash Pandas. The crowd was certainly into the contest and the fun surrounding the entire atmosphere of the evening that lasted just over three hours of game running time.
In all, the Trash Pandas will play 60 home games. Kinks within the chain will be worked out at each outing by the front office staff and the entertainment value of the team and its surroundings at Town Madison. The efforts are well worth the time as “The Boys Of Summer” are here.
If you can’t make the game in person, you catch all home games TV broadcast on WAAY-TV, Channel 31 newest channel, This TV, on 31.6 and several cable systems. Josh Caray will handle the play-by-play on radio for all games at 103.9 FM and AM 730 The Ump.