While current big league players are obsessively playing Fornite (like Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale who might have an addiction to the game), average fan age skews towards older audiences. The aging sport with the average fan age of 53 for the MLB just doesn’t tie into youth culture. However, minor league baseball has cultivated a family-friendly environment much more aligned with a younger age demographic. How much more aligned you ask? The recently-transplanted Mobile BayBears, who now have a home in Northern Alabama, have just renamed themselves Rocket City Trash Pandas. If this isn’t trying to tap into youth culture I don’t know what is.
Though the origin of the Trash Panda nickname for raccoons can be traced back to 2014, where a Redditor called CarlPeligro posted “Raccoons=trash pandas.” This quickly caught on with redditors posting entire forums about the creatures under r/TrashPandas. However, this did not pick up global attention until it was used in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Star-Lord used the term derogatory towards Rocket who as you know hates being referred to as the animal Drax “roasts over fires.”
According to Matthew Higley, the man who submitted the name, the movie isn’t why he suggested Trash Pandas but instead for raccoon’s “determined and ingenious” nature tying into Huntsville aerospace industry.
While Trash Pandas may not be intended for the follow-up to Marvel’s breakout hit, that is people’s first reaction towards the name. Also being named Team Rocket is an interesting note towards pop culture that was not intended, but is great nonetheless. In a league with Yard Goats, Flying Squirrels, and Rumble Ponies the name Trash Pandas is out of this world.
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