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  • Richard Smith

Toyota Field – Rocket City Trash Pandas


Photos by Sean MacDonald and Richard Smith, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29

Toyota Field 500 Trash Panda Way Madison, AL 35758

Rocket City Trash Pandas website

Toyota Field website


Year Opened: 2020

Capacity: 7,500

 

No Trash in Rocket City

The Rocket City Trash Pandas play in the Southern League and are the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. They are located in Madison, Alabama, and play their home games at Toyota Field. The team began a Covid-19 delayed first season in 2021. The franchise moved from Mobile, Alabama, where they previously played as the Mobile BayBears.

The Trash Pandas name and logo have been a massive hit with baseball fans and non-baseball fans alike. The combination of raccoons and rockets will always be a win.

The team is often considered as playing in Huntsville, known as Rocket City, although they technically play in neighboring Madison. Huntsville was formerly home to the Huntsville Stars until 2014, playing in Joe W. Davis Stadium, which is now being redeveloped into a multi-use facility.

Food & Beverage 4

The stadium has many food stands with great names such Dumpster Dive, Gravity Grille, and the Fueling Station. The Dumpster Wrap, which is a quesadilla with two hot dogs, fries, beef chili, fried jalapenos, and chipotle aioli, rolled up like a wrap, is the go-to item at Toyota Field.

Happi Pappi’s and Hippea Camper are examples of food trucks that may reside in the outfield area at various games. Both offer great options.

Pepsi is the official drink at Toyota Field.

Atmosphere 5

There is the normal open concourse above the seating bowl that allows for standing, as well as a berm, a bar in the outfield, and many places to wander and still catch the game action.

Once you enter through the main Pepsi Gate, you will be next to the team store, known as The Junkyard.

The top three rows behind home plate are known as the Home Plate Box seats and are not usually for sale to anyone except season ticket holders.

There is an upper level with a stadium club and suites,

The team has a mascot race where three astronauts race instead of the traditional mascots.

Neighborhood 4

The area around the stadium is a brand new development so it may change at almost every visit for a while. The best local option is the Yard Milkshake Bar across the street.

Huntsville is now the largest city in Alabama. The area is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command nearby at the Redstone Arsenal, and the state-owned US Space & Rocket Center. The replica Saturn V at the center can be seen quite away, especially on the nearby UAH campus.

Nearby University Drive going west towards Madison has a plethora of food options, from both chains to small operations. Phil Sandoval’s Mexican Restaurante, Shaggy’s Burgers and Tacos, ChopChop, and TopGolf are some of the best options. One should also look at the numerous brewpub options around the area. Downtown Huntsville is also becoming a nice quaint place for a stroll. There will be a few food and drink options down there as well. The Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment complex is an old factory and mill that houses numerous small artist studios and food and drink from options like Piper & Leaf Artisan Tea Company and Alchemy Lounge.

Fans 5

The fans are also very knowledgeable about the game and action. There is a large amount of very casual fans in attendance but everyone feels like they belong here at Toyota Field. The stadium and team just work well for the area.

Access 4

Getting into the stadium is fairly easy as it is located between two exits on the Interstate. Huntsville is served by several U.S. highways, including 72, 231, 431, and an Interstate highway spur, I-565, that links the two cities of Huntsville and Decatur to I-65.

The parking fee is a rather high $10, but you can save a few dollars if you reserve in advance.

The Pepsi Gate, which serves as the main entrance to the stadium, is located in the stadium’s right-field area.

Return on Investment 4

Tickets are $16 and up for any seat and $8 for the berm or standing room only.

Extras 4

First, a couple of points for the name and the variety of logos, which are among the most popular in minor league baseball. The combination of the space theme with raccoons works well with the names of concessions and the team store too.

Two points for having the batting cages and bullpen accessible to fans.

Final Thoughts

Rockets. Trash Pandas, Space. With all that, you know this will be a winner going into it. Toyota Field and the Rocket City Trash Pandas do live up to the hype.

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