The Rocket City Trash Pandas, of the Southern League and briefly in Double-A South, returned Organized Baseball to Greater Huntsville, AL, just four years after the Huntsville Stars moved to Biloxi, MS. They play their home games at Toyota Field in the Huntsville suburb of Madison, AL.
Although the team effectively moved during the 2019-2020 off-season, the Coronavirus delayed actual play another year by killing that campaign in the minors. After the season - and with a brand-new playpen there was never any doubt - the Pandas survived MLB's 2021 Minor League Reorganization.
The team's debut was actually delayed twice. When BallCorps LLC bought the Mobile BayBears in late 2017, the firm was already developing what would become Toyota Field. Less than four months later, BallCorps announced the BayBears would move to that new ballpark - originally in 2019, a very tight timeline that was soon pushed to 2020. Finally, the pandemic pushed it another year.
This followed incredible advance buzz: In November 2018, season tickets went on sale and a temporary team store - The Junkyard - opened; after closing to re-stock and expand, it reopened in February 2019 - then did it all again in July to get into an even larger location; season tickets sold out in August; the stadium naming-rights deal was announced in October; and merchandise sales passed $2 million in December. Finally, the club opened a new Trash Panda Emporium four miles from the stadium in Huntsville proper.