Last night my husband and I attended the second ever Rocket City Trash Pandas minor league baseball game against the Tennessee Smokies and enjoyed it immensely! If attending a game is on your radar, here’s a rundown of our experience as first-timers.
Our First Rocket City Trash Pandas Baseball Game Experience
We live in Madison near-ish to County Line Road, so we took County Line to I-565 and headed east to the new ramp. We hit the ramp about 5:40 p.m. and flew straight to the parking attendant with zero problems.
Considering this was just under an hour ahead of the first pitch at 6:35 p.m., we were really happy with our timing. We had heard and read all about the chaos of parking on opening night the night prior (it took some people upwards of two hours to go two miles to get anywhere close to parking), so we knew we wanted to get there with plenty of time to settle in.
Thankfully it looks and sounds like improvements to the traffic situation were made extremely fast after opening night one (Bravo, Trash Pandas!), allowing for a super pleasant entry and exit situation for guests.
We’d both heard that there was an app one can download in order to secure parking passes ahead of time, but we failed to do so since we were mostly flying by the seat of our pants for this first game after extremely busy days. We paid $10 via our debit card but won’t do that again. We now have the CLUTCH! app, which allows ticket holders to purchase pre-paid parking passes at a discounted $6.
We were soon greeted by the sight of long lines to get into the stadium itself, but they moved swiftly (we waited 15 minutes max).
We didn’t mind waiting in line though as the energy was already high; Everyone appeared to be light-hearted and excited about going to the game, and seeing a community all united in Trash Pandas apparel was awesome. Plus, every Wednesday dogs are invited to come into the stadium and hang with their owners on the green space (nearish to the outfield along the first baseline), so we enjoyed standing in line and admiring dogs of all breeds and sizes that also seemed excited about their outing. 🙂
We brought very little with us to the game since there is a strict “clear bags only” policy, so we emptied our pockets before going through the metal detectors and then breezed right in.
With roughly 30 minutes until the first pitch, we had our sites set on dinner. We waited about 10 minutes in the Champy’s line, where my husband ordered a fried chicken sandwich, fries, and a couple of adult beverages for us. His sandwich and fries were $12, a 32 oz beer was $11 (or $6 for a 16 oz.), and a canned spiked lemonade of sorts was $10. The stadium is entirely cashless, so we used our debit card for all of our purchases. Easy!
We are big, big Champy’s fans, but I personally wanted to branch out and try somewhere different to eat. We landed at the Gravity Grille (semi behind home plate), and though the line looked daunting, it moved rapidly.
I ordered a Mint Julep Chicken Sandwich which is described as a grilled chicken patty marinated in bourbon and mint. It came with fries and hit the spot. Neither of us actually finished our food because the portions were large! My meal was $10.
Once we had our food, we settled into our seats and got ready to watch some baseball.
We both agreed that one of our favorite moments from the evening was when the National Anthem was sung by Ms. Veteran American, Mary Ann Hotaling. It had been a while since we’d stood in a crowd at an event like this with our hands over our hearts and heard the National Anthem sung, and it felt good to back enjoying a moment like this in an environment that felt “normal”. Personal opinion there, but we loved it.
Though I enjoyed watching the game itself (just so darn happy for these players that are getting to do what they love!), I really enjoyed all of the extra on-field entertainment throughout the night. It’s obvious that everyone behind the scenes at the Trash Pandas has worked diligently to plan for and provide a super enjoyable experience for all throughout the game, whether one enjoys watching baseball itself or not.
The on-field entertainment was well organized, family-friendly, and comedic for all. There were balloon popping contests for kiddos, musical inflatable chairs for adults, a “Dirtiest Car in the Lot” award (they won a Super Shine car wash gift card, haha!), the infamous “Kiss Cam”, and much more.
About halfway through the game, I met up with a friend and her family in the children’s play area (outfield along the third baseline) where about a dozen kids were burning off some energy. I think this was such a smart idea and great addition to the stadium.
In conclusion, we had a fantastic time at the game and look forward to returning as soon as this weekend with our children. I grew up attending Huntsville Stars games, which were some of the highlights of my childhood. I loved watching all of the on-field games, shouting all of the chants, participating in the 7th Inning Stretch, eating ice cream out of a plastic baseball helmet, attending big-group picnics, and more. I’m excited that this will all now be a part of our kids’ childhood experience as well.
I’m glad the Trash Pandas are in the Madison, and I’m eager to watch Town Madison grow (check out this list of restaurants that are coming super soon!) The stadium itself is first-class and designed to be something our entire north Alabama region (and guests) enjoy.
Click here to head to their website and check out a full schedule, promotions, stadium policies, and more.
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