Baby Cakes proving a winner in merchandise sales

It is that time of year – time for New Orleans’ professional baseball fans to have their cake and eat it, too.
 
That first win in the history of the newly named New Orleans Triple A franchise? A piece of cake.
 
When ownership announced the name change from Zephyrs to Baby Cakes, that announcement was met with a hearty dose of skepticism. But the change has already paid off in merchandise sales. In five weeks, the Baby Cakes equaled all of their merchandise sales in their final year as the Zephyrs.
 
When the man with 3,030 hits in the big leagues and 1,278 hits in Japan endorses the change, it is lagniappe for a baseball franchise that for years has lacked momentum. On the Miami Marlins’ Twitter page, Ichiro Suzuki was proudly adorning his Baby Cakes T-shirt.
 
For the 2017 season, the Cakes have made some additional changes. If you buy a ticket to a game, for an additional charge, any fan can have access to the Cakes club. If you buy a $12 ticket, it only costs an additional $13 to relax in an air-conditioned suite, eat and even shoot pool. The old suite down the left-field line will also have a cash bar.
 
The Cakes have a new concessionaire and promise a host of new specialty food items, as well as an enclosed bar as part of the main concourse.
 
Now, all the Marlins have to do is provide some viable entertainment on the field. Last year’s Zephyrs finished with 69 wins, 70 losses. The New Orleans Triple A affiliate hasn’t finished with 75 wins in a season since 2007.
 
New Orleans hasn’t drawn at least 400,000 fans since 2002. Ironically, Triple A baseball in New Orleans became a tougher sell in that same year, when the Hornets relocated from Charlotte to New Orleans.
 
So this coming Thursday against Memphis, it will be first pitch in the new era of professional baseball in the Crescent City. And, for the those born in 2017, for them, baseball life will be cake.
 
Any child born in the state of Louisiana this year is eligible for free lifetime passes to Baby Cakes baseball. And, in 18 years, one of those children will be eligible for a free, four-year tuition to a state college of his or her choice in Louisiana.
 
When the name change was announced, I frankly thought team ownership had lost its mind. But they have already generated more buzz in six months than the Zephyrs have in six years.
 
So, #batterup. That’s the club’s clever Twitter hashtag for 2017.​
 
See you at the Shrine on Airline, Baby Cakes!
 
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarionherald.org.

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