New Orleans Baby Cakes
The New Orleans Baby Cakes was a team identity that existed for three seasons in the Pacific Coast League, playing their home games in the greater New Orleans metro area–specifically Metarie, Louisiana. For all three of those seasons, they served as the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins.
The Baby Cakes were born following the 2016 season, when the New Orleans Zephyrs were renamed and rebranded. The Baby Cakes beat out Crawfish, King Cakes, Night Owls, Po’boys, Red Eyes, and Tailgators in a (likely sham) name-the-team contest, and the Brandiose-designed graphics were released to the million critical eyes of social media.
The logos included a baby popping out of a cake while grimacing and clutching a baseball bat as well as him laughing while wearing Mardi Gras beads. Purple, green, and gold were the team’s colors, and the team made heavy use of New Orleans-inspired typeface and imagery. They put extra effort into using throwback uniforms as well, dressing up as the long-defunct New Orleans Pelicans. It was a lot of promotional money for only three years of baseball.
The affiliation deal that the Zephyrs had inked with the Marlins in 2009 continued through the three-year run as the Baby Cakes. To date, the only Baby Cakes alums who have done much at the big-league level are Sandy Alcantara and Brian Anderson. It is quite likely that a few more players who donned the baby cap will go on to find their stride at the major league level–we just don’t know for sure who they are yet. I’ve been following the minors long enough to know to not prognosticate on prospects.
Throughout 2018, rumors swirled that the city of Wichita, Kansas would be getting a Triple-A team. By the fall, it was known that the Baby Cakes would be moving out of the bayou following the 2019 season. However the news came with the consolation that the owners of the Cakes would buy a Southern League team and move them to Metarie. This arrangement made a certain amount of sense. Surely, New Orleans metro is worthy of an affiliated team, even if facility issues necessitate a downgrade from Triple-A to Double-A. Plus, NOLA would be able to play against local-ish Gulf Coast teams like Biloxi and Pensacola. This could still happen, but a Southern League team didn’t make it to New Orleans before the Triple-A team was moved. The Wichita Wind Surge play in the Pacific Coast League to this day, and the Baby Cakes were returned to the nursery/bakery.