Trash Pandas Wrap Up Incredible 2022 Season
A brilliant 2022 season for the Rocket City Trash Pandas has come to an end. The second season in team history saw tremendous growth and progress on the field, in the stands, and throughout the community. Following a cancelled 2020 season and a shortened inaugural season in 2021, the Trash
A brilliant 2022 season for the Rocket City Trash Pandas has come to an end. The second season in team history saw tremendous growth and progress on the field, in the stands, and throughout the community.
Following a cancelled 2020 season and a shortened inaugural season in 2021, the Trash Pandas played a full 138-game Southern League slate in 2022, finishing with the best record in the Southern League at 81-57 to earn the team’s first playoff berth.
The most meteoric team in Minor League Baseball brought an unrivaled fan experience to Toyota Field, with a team-centered product on the diamond that gave Rocket City a tremendous home field advantage.
“It’s great. It only helps facilitate the emotional attachment to what the players are doing,” Manager Andy Schatzley said of the environment. “These guys are emotionally bonded to each other and they’re emotionally bonded to the fan base.”
The support at home translated into victories at Toyota Field for Rocket City’s team. The Trash Pandas finished the regular season with the most home victories in all of Minor League Baseball, winning 49 of 69 games at Toyota Field in route to first and second half North Division Championships. Rocket City did not lose a series at home for the entire season, winning 10 and splitting two.
“I’m not sure it gets better than this at this level,” said first baseman and Alabama native Sonny DiChiara. “This is a great crowd, a great environment, and something I look forward to every day.”
Between the regular season and playoffs, more than a third of a million fans attended a Trash Pandas game at Toyota Field, as the team led the Southern League in attendance with an average of 5,031 over 65 home regular season openings. That average outdrew larger markets including Reno, Sacramento, Birmingham, Memphis, Omaha, Knoxville, and San Antonio.
Off the field, the Trash Pandas raised tens of thousands of dollars for local non-profit organizations by holding jersey auctions, dog days, and collection drives. Players and coaches made their presence felt throughout the Rocket City by visiting the pediatric wing at Huntsville Hospital, the St. Jude’s Clinic and by appearing at local schools throughout the area.
The season also saw several former Trash Pandas make the jump to the big leagues, with 2021 fan favorites David MacKinnon and Michael Stefanic making their MLB debuts, while 2021 ace Reid Detmers threw the 12th No-Hitter in Angels history on May 10. They were later joined in Los Angeles by more recent stars including Livan Soto, Ryan Aguilar, and Chase Silseth also debuting for the Angels.
The Trash Pandas also made history of their own this season, winning the first half North Division title on June 19 with a 7-2 win over Montgomery behind Bryce Teodosio’s go-ahead inside-the-park home run, the first in team history. On September 3, Silseth, Luke Murphy, and Eric Torres combined on the first no-hitter in team history in an 8-0 blanking of Biloxi.
At the end of the season, 14 of the Angels Top 30 prospects (according to MLB.com) called Rocket City home, including Logan O’Hoppe (Angels #1), infielder Zach Neto (Angels #2), and left-handed pitcher Ky Bush (#4).
Trash Pandas baseball returns in 2023 with the season opening at home for the first time, on Thursday, April 6 against the Chattanooga Lookouts at Toyota Field.