Trash Pandas’ Charlie Weaver named MiLB Groundskeeper of the Year
Rocket City Trash Pandas’ Head Groundskeeper Charlie Weaver was named the 2022 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Groundskeeper of the Year.
The award gives Weaver and the Trash Pandas the honor for the best field in the eight-team Southern League and throughout all 120 teams in Minor League Baseball for the 2022 season.
“Winning something like this is very meaningful to me. Just to have our hard work recognized throughout the entire season,” Weaver said. “To be acknowledged as the best in the league and all of baseball truly means a lot.”
“All of us are so excited for Charlie and his staff,” Trash Pandas Manager Andy Schatzley said. “It’s an incredible accomplishment and doesn’t surprise any of us who are lucky enough to be around him every day.”
A Madison native, Bob Jones High School alumnus, and former pitcher for the University of Alabama in Huntsville baseball team, Weaver returned to his hometown and joined the Trash Pandas in July 2019 after previously working for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Maintaining one of the newest ballparks in Minor League Baseball has been no easy task. But Weaver, with Assistant Groundskeeper Colby Hunter and a dedicated team of game day employees by his side, have perfected the job since Toyota Field opened. This past season, the Trash Pandas grounds crew stayed busy as the team played a full 69-game home schedule, as well as the first two playoff games in Toyota Field history while keeping a cool head throughout the most stressful situations during the season.
“To win something like this takes a great group of people around you. I would not be able to do anything like this if it wasn’t for Colby, our game day staff, the support of our front office, and especially my wife,” Weaver said. “This should be a grounds crew of the year award, because without everyone else, none of this would be possible.”
Around the Trash Pandas’ home schedule, Toyota Field hosted many other events in 2022 including high school and college baseball, concerts, youth baseball camps, and even a Division I College Football game in October. Throughout all of that, the grounds crew kept the field in top shape, making sure players and fans had the best experience possible at the ballpark.
Weaver earned the award by constantly being ranked among the best in baseball by his peers. In surveys conducted throughout the Southern League, the playing surface at Toyota Field is called the best in the circuit. Weaver’s field received the highest praise in each category including infield and outfield turf areas, player safety, professionalism of crew, and handling of weather conditions, which can be especially tough throughout rainy Alabama summers.
2022 Minor League Baseball Groundskeepers of the Year:
Charlie Weaver, League and Overall Groundskeeper of the Year, (Rocket City Trash Pandas, Southern League)