Residents excited about new minor league team, not all are on board with the name

MADISON, Ala. – After two rounds of voting, people in North Alabama have spoken; the baseball team coming to Madison will be called the Rocket City Trash Pandas.

“It’s ridiculous honestly,” said Austin Smith, a North Alabama resident. “It’s absolutely absurd.”

“I’m not gonna lie my first initial thought was the first word… trash,” said Elijah Vargas, a customer at Straight Razor in Madison.

The Trash Pandas dominated both rounds of voting. In the first round, the name received 41 percent of the votes and in the second round, 44 percent. Even though Trash Pandas won with an overwhelming amount of the vote, not everyone is on board.

“It doesn’t sound like a winning team, it sounds like just what it says… trash,” said Tarae Mitchell, owner of Straight Razor.

“It sounds like it would be a kid’s team,” said Cindy Bartlett, an employee at Straight Razor. “It doesn’t sound like an adults’ team.”

When voting for the new name, voters also had to choose what they wanted the regional identifier to be. The options were Rocket City, North Alabama and Madison.

With the stadium in Madison and Madison taxpayer money funding the stadium, you might think the regional identifier Madison would’ve won, but Rocket City won with 67 percent of the vote.

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Tarae Mitchell, a Madison business owner, says he’s a fan of having Rocket City in the name. “We could use that publicity you know like the Dallas Cowboys stadium is in Arlington, Texas so there’s nothing wrong with them being called Rocket City.”

No matter what the team’s name is, many are optimistic that having a minor league team will be great for both Madison and Huntsville. Most people WHNT News 19 spoke with think naming the team Rocket City made sense, especially to bring in larger crowds.

“Not everybody knows about Madison, Alabama, especially outside of north Alabama and south Tennessee,” Smith said. “Basically if you don’t live anywhere from Birmingham to Nashville there’s a very slim chance that you know the exact location or remotely heard of Madison, Alabama.”

Some people who aren’t a fan of the Trash Pandas name are thinking maybe Madison voters didn’t want that name to be affiliated with their city.

“If that’s the name people are voting for, let’s put this on Rocket City cause I don’t want to have anything to do with that name,” said Andrew Anderson, someone who’s not a fan of the name.

People here at home certainly have had something to say, whether they like the name or not, but this has been getting a lot of national attention too. There’s been talk about the name on national radio and a bunch of minor league baseball fans are already asking where they can get a Trash Pandas jersey, so a lot of people all over the country are excited about this team.

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.