By Anthony Navarrete, Staff Writer
Wednesday night, Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell came to Newman to speak to students about getting the Triple-A baseball team, Baby Cakes, to move from New Orleans to Wichita.
Adjunct professor Jeff Darr invited the mayor to speak to his Special Projects and Public Relations class so his students could hear the behind-the-scenes public relations activities that took place.
Mayor Longwell talked about how he had to sell both the city council and the owners of the Baby Cakes on the idea of having the Marlin-affiliated team move to Wichita.
Mayor Longwell said that he initially tried to save the Lawrence Dumont stadium, but after being told the stadium was becoming a hazard, he knew building a new stadium would be crucial in convincing Baby Cakes, Wichita’s first potential Triple-A team since 1984, into coming to Wichita.
Along with the arrival of the $80 million stadium, Longwell said that they are looking to build a “baseball village” where there will be a hotel located nearby, a baseball museum and a variety of concessions for the fans’ convenience
Not only will the stadium be the Baby Cakes’ home, Longwell said that he wants to bring local high school football games in as well.
Darr and Longwell said that they believe having this kind of affiliation with the MLB will allow for local college students to gain exposure in the sports marketing and communication field.
Darr said that having Longwell speak in his class was a plus considering all students present are working towards a degree in sports communication.
“It’s not everyday you get have to mayor of the largest city in Kansas come out and share with your class, and I felt really privileged to have Mayor Longwell come out,” Darr said.
Senior sports communication major CJ Campbell said that the class has blown him away with the experience and guest speakers they have had to opportunity to meet with.
“I think it was an awesome amenity to have. The fact that this class enables us to have this opportunity is second to none. There’s really no other schools that are probably going to give us that access.”
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, bizjournals.com