Fans say official Rocket City Trash Panda logos are a ‘home run’

MADISON, Ala – It’s a night many people across North Alabama have been waiting for, the official logo for the Rocket City Trash Pandas was finally revealed.

BallCorps, LLC hosted an event at Dublin Park in Madison to make the big announcement. After the big reveal the gymnasium was opened to give people their first chance to buy Trash Panda gear and the place was packed.

Many fans have already picked a favorite logo.

“The little raccoon coming out of the trash can,” Madison resident Tara Taylor said.

“It was the one with the raccoon sticking out of the trash can that was blasting off,” Madison resident Shawn Ryan said.

Which is good news! BallCorps managing partner Ralph Nelson says people will be seeing a lot of it.

“That’s our primary. That’s what you’ll see on our signs, and our business cards, and you’ll see that guy all over the ballpark in different places,” Nelson said.

People had their first chance to buy Trash Panda merch and they packed into the gymnasium. The lines wrapped all the way around the gym. But fans say it was worth the wait.

“Absolutely …I’m not really from around here. I’m fairly new coming into the area and we didn’t expect this kind of a turnout for this at all, especially for a minor league team,” Athens resident Gabriel Palacios said.

Hats, sweatshirts, T-shirts and kids clothes are all available for purchase. Many people joked about how this was a way for them to do their holiday shopping.

“We came out here to see the logo unveiling and to pick up Christmas presents,” Taylor said.

Many say the logos were a home run. And even though the first game won’t be until 2020, people can’t wait to show support for the Rocket City Trash Pandas.

A Rocket City Trash Panda merchandise store will open at bridge street town center November 12 for fans who would like to the team’s gear. The team will begin taking season ticket deposits at $250 per seat on Nov. 17. You can also buy merchandise on their website.

Top 10 tips for driving on Alabama’s winter roads

Winter driving can be daunting the first time you head into the snow. Preparing your vehicle for a winter road trip is a vital way to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Below we have compiled the top 10 winter driving tips to give you a safe and stress-free driving experience this winter.

Take fifteen minutes to do a pre-trip inspection. Check your anti-freeze levels, heater, defroster and wipers. Put weather appropriate washer fluid (anti-ice) in your car and keep an ice scraper handy. Also, make sure that your tires are properly inflated and consider purchasing a set of winter tires. The improved performance you get out of the softer rubber in colder temperatures is worth the investment.

Carry chains even if the forecast is clear. Cold weather patterns can be unpredictable, and you never know when you might need an impromptu tow to get out of a bad spot from a helping hand on the side of the road.

Leave your AM band on your radio tuned to the local highway advisory radio station. It will keep you up to date on changes in road conditions. You also might consider installing a weather app on your smart phone. Just be sure not to check it while driving, be sure to have a passenger notify you of road updates. Before you leave, you may also check out the Alabama Department of Transportation’s page for road conditions and road advisories.

Pack some energy bars, warm clothing, water, blankets and candles in case of breakdown or if you get snowed in by poor visibility and are too low on fuel to keep the motor running for heat.

Have alternate routes or a GPS handy in case of road closures. This can happen quite frequently when cold and icy weather develops. Always know your way around, and keep your gas tank full. Bridges and overpasses may be closed. The overpasses on Memorial Parkway (US 231) and the elevated portions of I-565 are usually the first roads to close. The main roads are usually the first roads cleared by the road crews to become passable. Out in the county, county roads and secondary roads may be slick and dangerous or covered with snow and ice.

Resist any temptation to out run a storm by speeding and do not let other drivers intimidate you by tailgating in order to get you to speed up. Maintain a consistent a safe consistent speed without violating any laws.

Depart early on your road trip. Get as much daytime driving as you can, and allow yourself additional time to reach your destination. Winter driving can be rugged during the day, but it is treacherous at night.

Watch out for black ice, especially on bridges and roads near bodies of water. Black ice is a thin glaze that forms on roads. It is dangerous because it can be invisible or transparent.

Keep a safe distance, at least 2-4 seconds stopping time from other motorists. Stopping quickly on snow or ice takes much longer on winter roads, so make sure you leave some space.

Do not push past your limits or skill level. Pull over to a rest area to wait out the storm or spend the night relaxing at the nearest motel. In some cases, it is best to avoid driving altogether when roads are hazardous.

No matter how careful you are, you still might find yourself injured in an accident. If that happens you may need an attorney for help – help in covering your medical bills, help in collecting your lost income, and help dealing with the insurance companies. If you are injured in an accident in Huntsville, and your financial recovery depends on your lawyer’s understanding of the law, then you will want a proven law firm with the experience of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C.

New Minor League Baseball team identifier may not include Madison

MADISON, Ala. – The new minor league baseball team set to play an April 2020 season at a stadium in Town Madison may not end up having the word “Madison” in its full name.

The Mobile BayBears will move to the Tennessee Valley and there is currently a Name the Team contest to decide what it will be called. Voting is open until Monday and Wednesday the top name will be announced.

But there’s another part to a name: the identifier that comes before it. Earlier votes included whether to identify the team with Madison, the Rocket City, or North Alabama.

Wednesday, team owners told WHNT News 19 they are “leaning toward” a more regional identifier than one specific city. Ralph Nelson, Managing Partner of BallCorps, said the city has been “very gracious” about that idea.

“We’re getting close to making some decisions, and it’s very exciting,” he stated. “We’ve known since the very beginning that, because of where this stadium is being located, right there on the interstate, that it was really going to be a regional destination.”

Nelson added, “Because of that, we have always known we did not want to identify specifically with a city so we were looking for different ideas.”

He said a lot goes into which identifier the team ends up with.

“How it sounds with the team name. How it looks on a uniform. How it looks on merchandising. How it will identify the team to people outside the region,” Nelson listed.

Even if Madison is not in the final name, Nelson told WHNT News 19 that it would still appear in many prominent places around the ballpark.

“Madison will still be recognized on every player’s uniform. Madison will be recognized at other places in the ballpark. Madison will be a huge part of our business model,” he shared. “But… there’s a good chance it will not say Madison but everybody in baseball knows exactly where this team is playing.”

The Agreement

But Madison has a lease agreement with the ballclub that provides the team will be named after Madison. The Team Name section states:

“BallCorps shall include the name “Madison” as the primary word in the club’s team name. However, in the event that BallCorps determines the name requirement should be revised not to include the word “Madison,” then it will seek City’s consent to amend this Agreement, and City will use all reasonable and best efforts to honor BallCorps’s request, and City will not unreasonably withhold its consent.”

At Monday’s city council meeting, President Tommy Overcash summarized it like this: “Basically what that’s saying is we are going to be open to their findings and we are going to do what’s best for the team and ultimately, what’s best for the city.”

Early on, at the time the lease and licensing agreement was signed, Mayor Paul Finley said how important it was to him to call the team Madison. However, he noted at the time that could change as referenced in the above portion of the agreement.

“We did research it. We started researching other teams with regional identifiers. We asked people about it,” said Nelson. “We found that the majority of people who are citizens of the city of Madison who voted for an identifier did not vote for the city of Madison as the identifier. The majority of people who live in the city of Madison who voted in the Name the Team contest voted for something other than Madison.”

Overcash shared on Wednesday during a phone conversation with WHNT News 19 that the council would all like for it to be called Madison, but they also want the team to be as successful as possible. He said that BallCorps, and the branding team Brandiose, are experts who understand the market and baseball. He believes the council is sensitive to the ball club’s need to be inclusive of the entire region to sell merchandise and increase attendance.

To keep Madison out of the team name, the city council will need to agree that calling it something else is the right thing to do for the success of the team, Overcash said. He did confirm they are open to that.

Earlier this month, Finley told WHNT News 19 that another team identifier would require a council vote and would also impact the venue’s utility cost split between the city and BallCorps.

What’s Next

Wednesday, September 5, BallCorps will announce the team name and identifier live on WHNT News 19.

The top 5 Team names are:

  • Comet Jockeys
  • Moon Possums
  • Space Chimps
  • ThunderSharks
  • Trash Pandas

Nelson said that at the end of the day, it’s all about building a brand and a team that the community can enjoy.

“This is all about the community,” he said, “and having somewhere that everybody is going to have a good time.”