The Rocket City Trash Pandas are set to open their baseball season on April 6 versus the Chattanooga Lookouts at Toyota Field. The first pitch is at 6:35 p.m.
The Trash Pandas have quickly become a beloved team in North Alabama, with their catchy name and fun-loving mascot, Sprocket the raccoon. Their home stadium, Toyota Field, is a state-of-the-art facility with seating for up to 7,000 fans, and it has become a popular destination for baseball fans throughout the region. The team was founded in 2018 and is part of the Double-A South League, affiliated with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Trash Pandas have set records for attendance, with many games selling out well in advance. Fans have praised the team for its family-friendly atmosphere, modern stadium, and exciting on-field action.
They also set records for Minor League Baseball merchandise sales, with their team store becoming the top-selling store in all of Minor League Baseball.
Q&A with Josh Caray, Rocket City Trash Pandas radio/TV broadcaster
Q: What was your first experience as a radio/TV broadcaster? I first got into broadcasting in 2007 when I was with the Rome Braves, Atlanta’s Single-A affiliate. I fell in love with sports broadcasting and everything went from there.
Q: How and why did you make a move to the Rocket City Trash Pandas? A lot of reasons. As a native of Atlanta, it gave me the opportunity to move back to the South and be close to family. I was on Long Island before that. Also, the merchandise sales and team name already had the sports world buzzing. I thought it would be a great opportunity to work for an organization such as the Trash Pandas. Fortunately, everything worked out.
Q: Did any broadcasters influence your style? My father, Skip Caray, was a baseball broadcaster with the Braves for over 30 years. A lot of my style is influenced by him.
Q: What are your most incredible memories behind the mike?
I got to call an NCAA Tournament basketball game for Stony Brook University in 2016. They played the University of Kentucky. We lost by about 30, however as a big college basketball fan the thought of calling a March Madness game always appealed to me. Stony Brook provided me that opportunity. Furthermore, sitting just about 50 feet from me, calling the game on CBS, was Jim Nantz who I am a really big fan of. He has called The Masters, Super Bowls and Final Fours for CBS for 30-plus years. To call the same game he did was an awesome experience.
Q: How has the role of a baseball PA announcer evolved since you started?
You have to do more than just call the game. You are an extension of the Community Relations and Marketing departments. You have to make speeches, appear at Rotary clubs, meet and greet fans at club events. What I do behind the scenes is frankly more important than my broadcasting.
Q: How would you describe your philosophy about the role and impact you have on a game?
If nothing, I help create memories. My dad had a couple of memorable calls while with the Braves that are a part of their history. We had a tremendous season last year and I made some calls that were memorable and helped illustrate the action on the field. Furthermore, I help push the marketing and promotions of the team through keeping fans informed of upcoming events, giveaways, and promotions involving the Trash Pandas.
Q: What are some of your Trash Pandas ballpark food favorites?
I don’t typically eat ballpark food … haha.