Supposedly, New Orleans doesn't care about baseball. But you wouldn't have guessed that last November, when the local minor-league team (nee
Zephyrs) temporarily blew up the internet
with their choice of "New Orleans Baby Cakes"
as the franchise's new name.
Local comedian (and occasional Gambit
contributor) Chris Trew was unfazed. Despite (because of?) their polarizing moniker, he's still into the team; so much so that he asked if he could sleep at their Airline Drive stadium for five nights during the team's inaugural home stand
against the Memphis Redbirds. To his tremendous surprise, they said yes.
"I would like to shout out the Baby Cakes on being down with me doing this. It's a very bold, weird ask from me to them," he says. "Props to them for doing the research to see if we could pull this off."
Trew, who serves on the team's advisory committee, pitched the idea to the team as a way to generate excitement for the fledgling franchise. He also decided to document the experience with a film crew in hopes of pitching a TV pilot called Stadium Sleepover,
which is ... well ... pretty much what it sounds like.
spoke with Trew via phone in the aftermath of his first stadium shower, in the umpire's locker room. (He's barred from a few key baseball sanctuaries, including the players' locker room and the pitcher's mound.) He arrived at about 11 p.m. Wednesday and has been sleeping on an air mattress in one of the suites.
"My front porch is basically overlooking the stadium," he said. "The team is being extremely accommodating, but it's not like I'm in a hotel with my sheets getting turned over. I brought my own soap."
For sustenance, Trew is being supplied with the occasional meal from Baby Cakes dining contractor Centerplate. Yesterday he enjoyed the "Baby Cakes Burger," a burger with a bacon-jam spread on a king cake-inspired bun. ("It's not as crazy as it sounds," he reports.) He'll also receive supplemental deliveries of provisions from outside the stadium.
Trew also is earning his keep. Last night, he escorted Irma Thomas to her seat after she sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and helped with a post-game fireworks display — even after the game stretched to 13 innings. (Typical games have nine.)
"Free baseball took place," Trew said, a bit optimistically. "After every inning, more of the crowd dispersed, which, I don't blame them ... [but] they still popped off all those fireworks just in the nick of time."
Over the course of his stay, which ends after the last out Monday night, he'll also learn new skills: how to sling peanuts, sell tickets and usher fans to their seats. His only worry is whether friends who have promised to bring supplies will turn up. "I want to make sure people actually do that," he says.
Otherwise, he may be forced to subsist on popcorn and Dippin' Dots.