Wichita Wind Surge
- Location: Wichita, KS
- League: Pacific Coast League 2020 (did not play); Double-A Central 2021; Texas League 2022-
- Affiliation: Miami Marlins 2020; Minnesota Twins 2021-
- Ballpark: Riverfront Stadium (Wichita)
The Wichita Wind Surge, formerly but only nominally of the Pacific Coast League, briefly in Double-A Central, and now in the Texas League, play in a city that has bounced out and in and down and up in Organized Baseball since 1950. The Minnesota Twins farmhands play their home games at Riverfront Stadium in Wichita, KS.
Wichita had a team in the Class A Western League from 1950 through 1955, then gained Triple-A only to become a revolving door: Triple-A Wichita Braves (1956-1958), Triple-A Wichita Aeros (1970-1984), Double-A Wichita Pilots/Wichita Wranglers (1987-2007).
The city's promise to open a new stadium for the Triple-A PCL's New Orleans Baby Cakes by 2020 brought a new chance. Wichita kept the ballpark promise, but the Coronavirus pandemic idled everyone in the minors in 2020. Coincidentally, before the new Wichita club could take the field, MLB's Minor League Reorganization demoted it to Double-A, alongside teams from the old Texas League.
One of the reorganization's objectives was to bring MLB franchises and their affiliates - especially those in Triple-A - closer geographically. That did not bode well for a team in the middle of Kansas - especially with the Kansas City Royals in baseball's longest partnership with Omaha, NE, in Triple-A while the Colorado Rockies were standing pat in Double-A despite their players being in Connecticut. The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp's promotion to Triple-A moved the Miami Marlins' top prospects more than 1,250 miles closer, while demoted Wichita's joining the Twins gave Minnesota a net gain of more than 300 miles with regard to their Double-A prospects.
When the Baby Cakes committed to Wichita, the city's 70-year score was: four affiliated franchises playing a total of 45 seasons with three gaps totaling 25 seasons. By contrast, Jacksonville's corresponding score was: three franchises playing a total of 69 seasons with only one gap of only one season.
The original Opening Day sold out in 45 minutes, but was of course lost with the season. The pandemic also claimed the life of the man who moved the team from NOLA, Cakes/Surge owner Lou Schwechheimer, at age 62.
Explaining the team's name, Aassistant General Manager Bob Moullette stated: "Wichita is the air capital of the world, and we're paying homage to the wind. It's a mighty force. It's powerful to us, and timeless." The Surge and regional rival Tulsa Drillers play their season series for the Propeller Trophy.
The Surge play Copa de la Diversión Hispanic engagement campaign games as Tumba Vacas de Wichita (Wichita Cow Tippers, according to the team).
|Year||Record||Finish||Manager||Postseason||Hitting coach||Pitching coach||Coach|
|2021||69-51||1st||Ramon Borrego||Lost League Finals||Ryan Smith||Luis Ramirez, Virgil Vasquez||Joe Mangiameli|
|2022||Ramon Borrego||Derek Shomon||Pete Larson, Dan Urbina||Joe Mangiameli|
- Chris Bumbaca: "Marlins' new minor league baseball team unveils its name: Wichita Wind Surge", USA Today, November 14, 2019.