The New Orleans Baby Cakes, in conjunction with the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District and SMG, are finalizing upgrades to the Shrine on Airline with less than four weeks remaining until the April 5th season opener.
The 'Cakes have prioritized fan comfort and safety in each of the improvements to the ballpark, starting with the extension of the netting protecting fans seated behind home plate. Following the recommendations set by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner, the netting now reaches the far end of each dugout in an effort to protect the fans seated closest to the field from line drives and broken bats.
"The offseason improvements at the Shrine are another step towards enhancing the guest experience while also preserving an important Parish and State asset," said Evan Holmes, SMG director of business operations. "We thank both for their continued support and look forward to another exciting year of Baby Cakes baseball."
The addition of cooling fans on the concourse and upgraded air conditioning in club areas such as the Bayou Social will provide relief from the summer heat. The stairwells and elevators have been reconstructed to correct issues with water drainage during thunderstorms, with the stairwells also having the sheet metal walls replaced by a mesh material which will increase airflow.
"It is exciting to see the work being done to give the stadium a facelift," said SMG facility manager Jose Avila. "Opening up the stairwells and painting the steel on the front of the stadium will present a unique look as the ballpark continues to come back to life."
Groups renting the Party Shack in the right field corner will notice the installation of a new deck, and groups of 20 or more people now have access to rent the Cake Club along the third level of the stadium.
On the diamond, the infield playing surface has been re-sodded under the supervision of new head groundskeeper Scott Blanchette, who spent the previous two years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, as the team remains committed to offering a first-class experience for the players.
"We take our role in grooming the Marlins' stars of tomorrow very seriously," Baby Cakes general manager Cookie Rojas said. "These improvements are examples of our responsibility to give fans in the Greater New Orleans community a safe, family-friendly environment while providing the players with the necessary tools to succeed on their path to the big leagues."
The Baby Cakes open the 2018 season on Thursday, April 5th against the Nashville Sounds at 7 p.m. Opening Night festivities include a celebration of the franchise's 25 years in New Orleans, the first 1,000 fans will receive a replica 'Cakes jersey courtesy of Silver Slipper Casino, and a fireworks show will follow the conclusion of the game. Tickets are available by calling (504) 734-5155 or by visiting cakesbaseball.com.