The newly rechristened Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes begin their season Thursday with a five-game series against the Memphis Redbirds. Chris Trew, a local comedian, wrestling promoter and Baby Cakes season-ticket holder, will be there for every minute.
With the stroke of midnight, Trew began an approximately 120-hour stay at the Baby Cakes' "Shrine on Airline." This ballpark in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie will be his home for all of the inaugural homestand.
Trew will provide updates on his ballpark residency via Facebook, Twitter, Periscope and Instagram, and the entire experience will be documented by a film crew for a proposed Stadium Sleepover television series.
"I've left lots of room for improvisation, as that's my main gig as a comedian," Trew said Wednesday afternoon. "But I definitely have a few things scheduled, like learning how to set up the field, take tickets and sell peanuts. Since [the Baby Cakes] are letting me live rent-free, I want to pay my rent through labor."
Prior to rebranding this past offseason, the Baby Cakes were known as the Zephyrs. Trew was a Zephyrs fan but admitted the team's new name -- a reference to a Mardi Gras delicacy -- "ignited something in me that wasn't there before."
"[Baby Cakes president] Cookie Rojas and his crew invited me to an advisory council meeting, where we could pitch ideas to them," Trew said. "I went to every one of those meetings. Eventually, I had the idea for this stunt where they'd let me sleep there. Cookie said, 'Yeah, we can pull that off.' I kept pursuing it, looked into the legalities and here we are."
Trew plans to sleep in a suite for at least one night, with other possible locales including a tent in the outfield and the home broadcast booth of esteemed play-by-plan man Tim Grubbs (whom the Baby Cakes will honor during an April 10 pregame ceremony).
Along the way, Trew will enjoy a full sampling of the Baby Cakes' concession offerings, though he said he hopes to vary up his diet by perhaps "having a pizza delivered through a secret stadium portal." However, he may end up having to share his meals with unwanted guests such as nutrias. These Louisiana swamp rats have a costumed counterpart in the form of Boudreaux, the team's longtime mascot.
"I have been warned that there could be some critters in the ballpark at night, so I'll be proceeding with caution," he said. "I wouldn't mind encountering something on camera. … Bring it on, raccoon. Bring it on, nutria."
If a rodent encounter is what it takes to make good television, so be it. Trew is open to whatever comes his way.
"This is the first time I've done something like this, so I'll learn a lot about the process," he said. "I hope to show it to someone who enjoys the concept and then be able to make more. But if nothing happens, I'm still excited about connecting with the Cakes and getting the opportunity to pull off this stunt."
Around the Minors
The season is underway, which means there are 120 teams across the country trying to lure fans to their ballparks. Here are some of this week's highlights:
April 6: The Frisco RoughRiders are planning a hot and wet start to the season, thanks to their Opening Day Lazy River Pool Party. The water feature in the Dr Pepper Ballpark outfield is now heated, and thus an optimal place to watch a ballgame.
But let's face it: Opening Day or not, April can be a fairly miserable time to be outside. The Indianapolis Indians, always thinking warm thoughts, have once again issued a "60 Degree Opening Night Guarantee."
Meanwhile, in Syracuse, the Chiefs issued a "53 or FREE Guarantee." This offer pokes fun at the visiting Rochester Red Wings, whose temperature guarantee for their April 14 home opener is a comparatively frigid 50 degrees.
April 7: The Erie SeaWolves stage their first "Fauxback Friday," in which they suit up in vintage-seeming uniforms that hearken back to a past that never was -- but could have been.
April 8: The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, one of the most bobblehead-centric teams in Minor League Baseball, are giving away David Ortiz bobbleheads. Ortiz played for the Timber Rattlers in 1996, when he was known as David Arias.
April 10: The Down East Wood Ducks, new to the Carolina League, are offering fans the opportunity to get up close and personal with Snuggles the duck.
April 11: Because hell hath no fury like a Minor League market scorned: On "Jim Boeheim No Value Night," the Greensboro Grasshoppers offer a direct response to the derogatory comments made by Syracuse University's basketball coach.
The Akron RubberDucks, meanwhile, are celebrating cult movies every Tuesday home game. To kick things off, they're staging a tribute to unappreciated arthouse favorite Titanic.