The Rocket City Trash Pandas won’t play a game until 2020, but already the Double-A Angels affiliate in northern Alabama is breaking Minor League Baseball sales records. The previous record for sales in a three-month period (the standard length of time that MiLB uses to gauge merchandise sales) was $300,000, and the Trash Pandas have hit the $500,000 mark in the six weeks since they opened their store.
Per team owner Ralph Nelson, the previous record for the total number of items sold in a three-month period was 1,022, held by the El Paso Chihuahuas. The Trash Pandas have climbed past that with ease, surpassing 3,000 items in half that time.
“I’d be shocked if almost everybody didn’t get Rocket City Trash Pandas merchandise under their tree…,” Nelson said, quoted on whnt.com. “It’s just exploded!”
Since revealing their new logos in late October, the Trash Pandas have stood out among a handful of other minor league rebrands this offseason, including the Amarillo Sod Poodles, Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Las Vegas Aviators, Rocky Mountain Vibes, and the incredibly boring Syracuse Mets. It’s hard to say what’s drawing fans to this team over others (except the Mets, that’s easy to explain)—perhaps it’s the unique geographic identifier of Rocket City, the adorable raccoon logo, or the fact that the team was born just two months after the MPR raccoon captivated a nation by scaling a 25-story Minneapolis skyscraper on live-streamed video.
Whatever the reason, the franchise will ride this momentum in their future home, all the while selling “Farewell Season” gear in their current home of Mobile.