AS IT SHOULD BE
Minor League baseball returns to North Alabama.
Varying degrees of rain escorted us from Exit 174 on the outskirts of Chattanooga along the peaceful journey down to Madison, Alabama, a booming town on the outskirts of Huntsville.
South Pittsburg, Bridgeport, Stevenson, Scottsboro …we began counting off the various construction projects both big and small that we've been fortunate to work on along this stretch of North Alabama ...at least those that we could recall from memory. We're pretty sure that a couple may have slipped our minds as the miles escaped behind us there on Highway 72. The area has grown and naturally, growth brings about change. However, the changes have not robbed the charm from this part of the state ...it serves to remind us that yes, we truly have been painting the south for over 30 years.
Madison, Alabama and the newly constructed Toyota Field ...the home of the Rocket City Trash Pandas. We were fortunate to once again work with Hoar Construction out of Birmingham ...we had worked with them on several projects in the past and they had always been a pleasure to deal with. Bill Lampkin was the project manager and Luther Black was the foreman.
Our work at the new ballpark consisted of:
Exposed Structural Steel: We used Sherwin-Williams Macropoxy Primer & an Acrolon Urethane finish coat on everything.
Concourse Restroom Floors: We applied H&C Concrete Stain ...it will withstand vehicular traffic, tire marking, and hot-tire pick-up on high traffic surfaces ...yes, it is extremely durable.
Restroom & Food Prep Walls: We applied Pre-Catalyzed Epoxy ...another Sherwin-Williams product that is the ideal coating for high traffic areas like hospitals, schools, and restaurants.
Locker Room and Showers: We finished them off with a Plexicoat MMA Chip Floor System ...it gives the floors a very durable and beautiful finish. We have applied it to hundreds of projects over the years and we highly recommend it.
We began our part of the project in the spring of 2019 and we were finished by summer. We left there knowing that we would indeed be back again to not only see the stadium in all of its completed glory but to also watch the Trash Pandas in action.
The skies began to clear about the time we made it to Gurley.
The 2020 season was within reach, much like those final few steps to the top of the highest mountain in the state ...it lay there just above and ready for the taking. The front office, the team, the fans ...they could all see it. The days were being counted off as it kept getting closer and closer.
Then it vanished.
The COVID outbreak had us all scrambling, and questions were abundant, but solid answers were few. Surely it would just be a couple of weeks, many of us thought, then we could all get back to our normal lives. Sure, games were being canceled, but they'll make them up later in the season. This is all gonna be old news in a week or so—no need to worry.
June 30, 2020
Rumors began to fly as stretches of games were being nixed, waded up like used paper, and tossed toward the trash can. Then, finally, word came down; it was much more like a decree with a "Hear Ye, Hear Ye" attached rather than just another simple press conference. The announcement was finally made, and now it was official ...there would be no 2020 minor league season ...no surprise, actually, COVID seemed to be calling all the shots. The pandemic had robbed everyone of opening day and took with it a string of canceled games as well. But now, with certainty, there would be no games at all ...no Trash Pandas baseball in 2020.
The management of the Trash Pandas would now be presented the task of redefining Toyota Field for at least the short-term and make use of that beautiful facility in all sorts of creative ways until the day baseball could finally return to the area.
The Trash Pandas organization did an amazing job keeping things positive and moving forward throughout the remainder of 2020 and right up until those magic words were spoken on the night of May 11, 2021.
...it’s fantastic to see
rally behind this team!
Mayor Paul Finley
Yes, we truly have been painting the south for
over 30 years.
The Rocket City Trash Pandas are a Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. Our trip was one we had originally planned for last year, a year that was to be the inaugural season of the Trash Pandas. An inaugural season that the organization, along with an eager fanbase, not to mention a certain paint contractor in Chattanooga, Tennessee had been anxiously awaiting since back in the spring of 2020. A season when COVID took it all.
As of this writing, the Trash Pandas sit just two games behind their intrastate rival, Birmingham Barons, for first place in the North Division of the Southern League. Yes, it's been a memorable inaugural season ...a season where they're setting attendance records and smashing home runs at a record pace.
We had a wonderful time that night. The stadium was polished up like a new dime, and on the field was baseball. Thankfully the sound of a wooden bat hitting the ball never changes, and hot dogs still taste better at the ballpark.
And for a night, everything seemed back to normal.
Yep, we've been painting the south for over thirty years. Lots of projects in lots of towns and Toyota Field in Madison, Alabama ...we thank you!
Good luck Trash Pandas!