8 changes Trash Pandas baseball fans can expect in 2022

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Toyota Field will have some new features for fans in the 2022 season. (Nathan Watson/Bham Now)

The Rocket City Trash Pandas baseball season for 2022 will begin in Birmingham April 8, but will be back in Madison to play their home opener April 12. The AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Trash Pandas will begin their second season in the Double-A South league, and Trash Pandas baseball fans can expect to see some new features during the season, both on and off the field.

New Toyota Field features

The fan experience will be different at Toyota Field for 2022, with a new bar, new protective netting and more. (Mark Fortner)

Toyota Field has added some new features to enhance the fan experience for the 2022 season:

  • In the outfield, fans will have the opportunity to show off their pitching arms at a new Mojo Speed Pitch Cage. For a small fee, fans can have their pitch clocked by throwing at a realistic catcher, with accuracy a key for success on the mound.
  • Also new in 2022 will be a bar in center field near the bullpens which will feature craft beers and signature Trash Pandas cocktails. That comes as part of the 360 experience, which is designed to provide a full experience around the concourse with a variety of food and drink options to allow fans to best enjoy everything Toyota Field has to offer on game day.
  • For fan safety, the protective netting at Toyota Field has been extended throughout the ballpark. The original netting behind both dugouts and home plate has been raised 10 feet to a height of 35 feet. New netting has been added down both baselines and will taper down toward the foul poles to a height of about 12 feet.
  • Suite and club level guests will enjoy a New Era merchandise kiosk near the press box to give fans an opportunity to purchase caps and merchandise beyond the Junkyard Team Store.
  • For fans of stats, a new Hawk-Eye system has been installed at Toyota Field and will give the Trash Pandas incredible information about what happens during the game such as the speed of a pitch, the distance of a home run, the height of a batted ball, and so much more.

“Fan safety is our number one priority at Toyota Field. Our new protective netting will provide a safer atmosphere for everyone to watch the game without sacrificing the close-up views of the action that fans have grown to love.”

Trash Pandas General Manager Garrett Fahrmann

New rules on the field will change the game

Wider bases, a pitch timer and defensive positioning rules are just some of the changes MiLB has added this season. (Mark Fortner)

Major League Baseball on Monday announced a variety of experimental playing rules that have been approved by the Competition Committee and the Playing Rules Committee for use during the 2022 Minor League season. These rules are designed to improve the pace of play, create more action on the field and reduce player injuries.

Fans can expect the following changes on the field for the 2022 season:

  • Pitch timer: On-field timers will be used to enforce regulations designed to create a crisp pace of play, with batters required to be ready to hit and pitchers required to deliver the pitch within allotted periods of time. With runners on base, pitchers will have additional allotted time for each pitch but will risk automatic baserunner advancement if a third pick-off attempt or step-off within the same plate appearance is made without recording an out.
  • Larger bases: The size of first, second and third base will be increased from 15 square inches to 18 square inches.
  • Defensive positioning: In Double-A, High-A and Low-A, the defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, with at least two infielders completely on either side of second base. These restrictions on defensive positioning are intended to allow infielders to better showcase their athleticism, to increase batting average on balls in play, and to restore a more traditional set of aesthetics and outcomes on batted balls

For ticket information and a season schedule, visit the Rocket City Trash Pandas website.

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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