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Trash Pandas’ Jay Bell Meets With Baseball Fans

MADISON- Rocket City Trash Pandas’ field manager Jay Bell made a two-day visit to North Alabama for a special Meet The Manager luncheon and dinner extravaganza. Held at Toyota Field’s SportsMED Stadium Club, Bell spoke to each attending group and added one-on-one meet and greet discussions with attendees.

“It was a special two days as the people here are holding onto baseball and just my looking out over the field sort of scratched my itch for baseball,” said Bell. “I’m really looking forward to baseball as this area is still exciting and ready for some action.”

A member of the 2001 World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks, Bell was set to enter his 37th season of professional baseball when the minor league season was called off by Major League Baseball due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was in the Major League Camp as part of spring training for the Los Angeles Angels when the season was shut down. He was only able to get to know a very few of the players who would have been part of the Trash Pandas’ roster.

“The biggest disappointment was not being able to be with them and be on the field with them,” said Bell. “Not having a game is tough. I miss it. I’m looking forward to next April.”

The 54-year old Bell made the trek to Madison from his home in Phoenix and will make stops to see nearby family members before returning to the hot confines of the Southwest. He has two sons who are currently in professional baseball and he’s been able to spend some quality time with them tossing batting practice to Brantley, 25, a third baseman in the Cincinnati Reds program, and catching bullpen pitching practice for 22-year old Brock, a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox organization.

Bell spoke of how he and Trash Pandas’ CEO and President Ralph Nelson have known one another going back to the beginning of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998. Their experience with a startup of a baseball team is unequaled and has been priceless for the franchise. Bell said of Nelson, “He wanted the name Rocket City in the team name as he wants this team to belong to North Alabama. Very similar to the name Arizona for the D-Backs. That has been smart on a lot of levels. It will increase the fan base.”

Speaking to dedicated fans of the Trash Pandas, Bell spoke of his message to the community- “Be patient. Baseball is coming up and we’re all looking forward to it.”

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Digital version of The Madison Record – Sept. 9, 2020

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