Goodbye Zephyrs, hello Baby Cakes.
The New Orleans franchise announced its new name on Tuesday evening, and it’s a whopper. The Miami Marlins Triple-A affiliate is now known as the New Orleans Baby Cakes.
Now before I go on my rant – yes, there will be a rant – Baby Cakes has some local flavor. In New Orleans, king cake is part of the Mardi Gras celebration, and a small, plastic baby baked into the cake is good luck to the person who finds it.
Regardless what you think of the Baby Cakes name – early returns are polarizing, to say the least – this is part of a continuing trend in minor league baseball.
Spearheaded by a San Diego promotional company called Brandiose, teams around the nation have developed new names and “cute” logos. Brandiose developed the name and logo for our favorite team to kick, the El Paso Chihuahuas.
They also created other team name changes this year in the minor leagues – I believe they had a hand in each of these:
- Binghamton Rumble Ponies
- Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
- Down East Wood Ducks
- Florida Fire Frogs
Here’s the thing, minor league team owners: you don’t have to permanently change your name in order to cash in on a new cute logo. The Fresno Grizzlies taught us this.
Fresno has developed an alternate reality, playing all Tuesday home games as the Fresno Tacos. The players wear Tacos uniforms and Tacos hats, and there is a full array of Tacos memorabilia available for fans to eat up in the team store. And the stuff sells.
The thing is, it is not permanent. The team is still the Grizzlies, and the Tacos are a silly and fun twice-a-month sideshow.
We could do this here in Tacoma.
What is Tacoma most famous for in our region? Easy: our never-ending freeway construction project.
Let’s do it. One day a week we’ll change our name to the Tacoma NeverEnding Freeway Construction. We’ll do this each Friday, and we’ll start the games during the heart of rush hour – say, 5:35. We’ll have Brandiose create special uniforms with the Tacoma NeverEnding Freeway Construction logo: a lane closed sign, with cute flashing arrows pointing toward a home plate. The hat will feature the Google traffic map – it will look terrific, lots of red. Games will be brought to you by Waze. The team store will be loaded with NeverEnding Freeway Construction gear. It will sell like hotcakes.
Six days a week we’ll be the Tacoma Rainiers, and on Fridays we’ll the Tacoma NeverEnding Freeway Construction.
Then, if the fans ever get tired of the Tacoma NeverEnding Freeway Construction logo (
or if the freeway construction project is actually completed – sorry that was just too ridiculous, even for this post), we’ll quietly stop using it and become the Rainiers 24/7/365 again.
This way, we never actually committed to changing our name to the Tacoma NeverEnding Freeway Construction, or the Akron RubberDucks, or the Omaha Storm Chasers, or the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, or the New Orleans Baby Cakes. It was just temporary, and we could get away from it.
OK, that’s it, I’m done. You can catch the Baby Cakes at Cheney Stadium for a four-game series this coming season, May 6-9.
Baby Cakes Links:
- The New Orleans Times-Picayune gave the new name a big thumbs up – showing that it plays a lot better locally, if you know the customs of Carnival.
- A local columnist has gone from hating to loving the Baby Cakes name.
- The New Orleans franchise owner released a statement in conjunction with the name change.
- Deadspin points out that the logos developed by Brandiose all have the minor league snarl.
- Click it if you dare – the Baby Cakes twitter storify.
- The team will not be getting the babycakes.com web address. Gotta say, Baby Cakes the cat looks pretty dour about the whole thing.
The Usual Links:
- Mariners No. 1 draft pick Kyle Lewis is recovering nicely from major knee surgery.
- The Mariners have to set their 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft, and the deadline to set the roster is tomorrow. Bob Dutton has an article covering the players the M’s are considering protecting.
- We’ve got another new manager in the PCL, and this one was a bit of a surprise: Nashville manager Steve Scarsone switched jobs and became an infield coach (still in the A’s system), and former outfielder Ryan Christenson was named the new manager.