Trash Pandas’ 2023 Season Recap
MADISON- The 2023 season of Rocket City Trash Pandas is now history.
The third season in team history saw the team continue to expand their role in the local community, along with an array of on and off the field success stories. For the third consecutive season, the Trash Pandas led the Southern League in attendance with 314,306 fans coming through the gates at Toyota Field for the 64 home games on the manicured green grass of the playing field surrounded by what many considered the best Minor League stadium in the South.
Close to 1-million fans have attended games in the three years at Toyota Field averaging more than 5,100 per game. In 2023, the average per game attendance was 4,911. The Trash Pandas finished in third place of the Southern League North Division in both the first half and second half of the season and overall, at the end of the season posting a record 58-80.
“The Trash Pandas would like to thank everyone that has come out to support us throughout the 2023 season,” said Garrett Fahrmann, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Trash Pandas. “Full preparations are already underway for next season, and we are already counting down the days until Opening Night at Toyota Field in 2024.”
The start of the 2024 season will open on the road at Tennessee on April 5. Home Opener is set April 9 against the arch-rival Birmingham Barons. Garrett added, “It’s difficult to believe the 2023 season is over, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back to Toyota Field next season.” The 2024 campaign will feature 69 homes games and the team’s one millionth fan is expected sometime during the first half of the season.
Tremendous signs of development were evident for many of the Trash Pandas during the just completed season. So much so, 11 Trash Pandas went on to make their Major League Baseball debut with team’s parent club the Los Angeles Angels. Eight of those 11 were promoted directly to the Angels from the Trash Pandas. In addition, 13 members of the 2023 roster are now with Triple-A Salt Lake, providing the foundation for the future for the Angels organization.
“It’s been a unique year for us here, but a very rewarding year with a lot of growth at the same time,” said Andy Schatzley, Trash Pandas’ Manager.
Overall, as a team, the Trash Pandas batted .232, 1044 hits, 641 runs scored, 200 doubles and 113 homeruns. The team also had a .336 on-base percentage. In the pitching department, those taking to the mound posted a 5.35 ERA, giving up 1,165 hits, 796 runs, 168 homers along with an astounding 114 hit batsmen. Trash Pandas pitchers posted 1,236 strikeouts.
The energy and enthusiasm the fans brought to Toyota Field at every game was something both staff and players noticed. The attending fans came to the ballpark hungry and certainly left satisfied just by looking at the numbers from the concessions among Toyota Field. According to Garien Shelby, food and beverage director, the final items sold were:
- Chick Tender Baskets- 17,000
- Hotdogs- 50,000
- Nachos- 15,000
- Popcorn- 20,000
- Pretzels- 7,800
- Ounces of Beer- 1.4-million
Players and coaches spent a lot of time out in the North Alabama community including stops at the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit and Huntsville Hospital. They also made stops at local schools where many of the players read to the school children.
Outside of Toyota Field, the Trash Pandas opened a new retail location on Hughes Road in Madison in an effort to expand its footprint in Madison with the opening of the biggest Trash Pandas Team Store to date. Team merchandise continued to be some of the most popular in Minor League Baseball as, since its conception, Trash Pandas merchandise has been shipped to all 50 states and more than 30 different countries across the world. One fascinating fact, the merch has been shipped to every continent, except for Antarctica.
A new season will be here before you know it, but what an exciting piece of baseball history was in 2023.