The new Wichita ballpark for the relocating New Orleans Baby Cakes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) took a step forward Wednesday, when officials held a groundbreaking ceremony.
Following the 2019 season, the Baby Cakes will relocate to Wichita, KS, where the new ballpark is slated to open for the start of the 2020 season. The $75 million facility–which will be built at the former site of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, albeit with a slightly different footprint–is expected to feature about 6,000 fixed seats with a total capacity around 10,000. Among the amenities planned for the ballpark include berm seating, group areas, a 360-concourse, and more.
On Wednesday, officials gathered at the ballpark’s site for a groundbreaking ceremony, an early step in the push to complete the venue in time for the 2020 campaign. The event gave those involved, including team owner Lou Schwechheimer, an opportunity to discuss their vision for the ballpark and the return of affiliated Minor League Baseball to Wichita. More from the Wichita Eagle:
“We will promise you, every single day of our lives you will get our best effort,” said Lou Schwechheimer, owner of the not-yet-named Triple-A minor-league baseball team coming to Wichita next year.
“We made a commitment to come here, and we’re all in,” he said….
The city is expected to hand over the completed ball park to the team by next March, and the project is on a fast track to hit that deadline. Plans for the stadium are being made as the project progresses and leaders gather input from the community.
Tuesday, the Wichita City Council members approved the first round of construction. Wednesday, they plunged ceremonial shovels into sand and posed for photos, part of a groundbreaking ceremony that signified the start of laying utility lines, walls, dugouts and tunnels for the stadium.
Look for more developments over the coming months. Aside from the ballpark construction process’ progress, another storyline to watch will be the rebranding of the Baby Cakes that will take effect with the move to Wichita. The club began accepting submissions for a new name last month, and should unveil its new identity later this year. Once the new ballpark opens, it will mark the first time that Wichita has been home to an affiliated MiLB team since the Wichita Wranglers (Class AA; Texas League) moved to Northwest Arkansas after the 2007 season.
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