Wichita City Council delays stadium vote
The Triple-A minor-league baseball team moving to Wichita in 2020 released a generic logo earlier this week to generate interest about the team’s arrival from New Orleans.
The logo features a home plate, filled by the colors of the Wichita flag, with Wichita written across it and 2020 prominently featured. Lou Schwechheimer, the majority owner of the franchise, said the logo accomplished the message he wanted to send to Wichitans.
“We’re excited about coming to Wichita and we wanted to do something to get us geared up for the 2020 season, so we figured this would send the right message,” Schwechheimer said. “We wanted the home plate because it shows we’re finishing strong and getting this to home in Wichita.”
While the City Council delayed a decision on who will build the $75 million ballpark to replace Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Tuesday, Schwechheimer wasted no time doing a round of local interviews to generate excitement.
Schwechheimer said the franchise, now known as the New Orleans Babycakes, who are affiliated with the Miami Marlins, will have around 40 full-time staff members moving from New Orleans to Wichita. The franchise currently has four members entrenched in Wichita “to get a sense of the community vibe.”
The reports back to New Orleans have been promising.
“Everyone is falling in love with Wichita,” Schwechheimer said. “There’s such an incredible sense of community pride. People love the city of Wichita, they love being there and they love the flag. I mean, the flag has its own website. We thought it was a great symbol for the city and make a great connection to the team right out of the gate, so we wanted to make sure it was in the logo.”
“They wanted to make sure they incorporated a piece of Wichita into the logo,” Wichita mayor Jeff Longwell said. “I think it looks great.”
The question everyone wants to know is when the franchise will settle on a nickname. Schwechheimer said he has been inundated with suggestions.
“Everywhere we go, people have a thought or an idea,” Schwechheimer said. “Some are really great, some are goofy, some are silly, some are fun. That’s the magic of it all. It’s a really neat collaborative project and we want to pick a name that Wichita baseball fans and community fans will be proud to call their own. It’s about striking a balance between the baseball fans and the community.”
Schwechheimer said the franchise is in the process of creating a splash page on a website for fans to submit their nickname ideas in the next 10 days. The franchise will accumulate every suggestion and reasons why, then narrow the list down to 20 names sometime in January. Schwechheimer said he hopes to settle on a nickname sometime in the early spring of 2019.
Once the official nickname is selected, Schwechheimer said the franchise will work with renowned graphic designer Todd Radom, who designed the logos for the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Angels.
While the nickname is still up in the air, Schwechheimer said the franchise already feels good about the direction the search is headed.
“The people of Wichita are phenomenal and there’s this incredible vibe now in the city,” Schwechheimer said. “We want to be able to capture the new spirit of Wichita. Folks have told us, ‘We appreciate our past and we appreciate the airline industry, but we want this to be about the new, vibrant Wichita.’ We’re listening to that loud and clear.”