The Savannah Bananas feature a dancing first base coach, a pitcher on stilts, and a “Banana Baby” held aloft each game ala “The Lion King.” With every game a sell-out, it’s the hottest ticket in town. Think of “Banana Ball” as baseball for the TikTok generation.
The Savannah Bananas are a collegiate summer team that plays baseball in the Coastal Plain League. When not playing in the Coastal Plain League, the Bananas take the show on the road.
Much like the Harlem Globetrotters have the Washington Generals as their nemesis, the Bananas have the Party Animals to play at most away games.
How did I hear about the Savannah Bananas?
I was visiting Savannah on a long weekend trip and took a walking tour of the city. The tour guide was wearing a Savannah Bananas hat and gushed as much about the team and its approach to entertainment as he did about the lovely squares highlighting the city. Before long, the team was featured in the LA Times, The New York Times, and the CBS Morning Show.
Let’s take a closer look at the team and its baseball style.
Reasons to Love “Banana Ball”
A lot is going on at any Savannah Bananas baseball game. Here are a few of the things we love.
1.) Match Play
Much like a match play in golf, the team with the most runs in an individual inning wins that inning. So, unlike Major League Baseball, an early blowout is less likely to happen.
2.) Only One Type of Ticket Is Sold
The Savannah Bananas sell an all-inclusive ticket covering a fan’s admission to Grayson Stadium, food, and drink. You’ll have an all-you-can-eat take on hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, chips, popcorn, dessert, water, and Coca-Cola products. The average ticket price is about $155.
3.) Dad Bod Cheerleaders and The Banana Nanas
The Banana Nanas are the team’s senior citizen dance team who provides additional entertainment to a night at the ballpark. All of the Nanas are 65 years or older. And, really, who wouldn’t want to see the Dad Bod Cheerleaders?
Baseball That Has Gone Bananas Video
4.) The Team Owner is the Master of Ceremonies
Team owner Jesse Cole wears a yellow tuxedo every game and leads the crowd in sing-alongs. He models his approach after P.T. Barnum and Walt Disney.
5.) A Dancing First Base Coach
Maceo Harrison is the current Bananas’ first base coach. He’s a hip-hop teacher and dancer who has never played baseball. But, he’s developed a Tik-Tok audience with his crazy dance moves and show-stopping acrobatics.
Harrison choreographs most of the dancing that happens on the field and in the stadium.
6.) Batters Crowd Surf To The Plate
Player walk-ups continue to stretch the norms. A batter has come up with a caddie-like figure as in gold or be escorted by a pep band. Crowd-surfing to the batter’s box is our favorite.
7.) Games Last No Longer Than Two Hours
No inning is begun after the 1 hour and fifty-minute mark.
8.) Sell-out Crowds Since 2016
The Bananas have sold out every home game. About 4,000 fans fill the stadium when they play.
9.) Post-Game Interviews Can Happen Anywhere
Players may be interviewed nearly anywhere after a game. Past interviews have occurred in the shower, in an ice bath, and even in the player’s bed.
10.) The Infamous Kilt Game
The Savannah Bananas are the only baseball team we know has played in kilts.
11.) Scoring Celebrations are the Norm in Bananaland
Executing the Bananaland Leap and running through the crowd are some of the ways you might see the home team celebrate.
12.) Choreographed Dances are Performed by the Team Every Game
Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, and Toby Keith are just some of the singers that the Bananas dance to at every home game.
13.) No Bunting Allowed
If a player bunts at-bat, he is thrown out of the game.
Top 5 Savannah Bananas Moments Video
14.) Extra-Inning Play Gets Wild
When a game goes to extra innings, the defensive team gets a pitcher, catcher, and one fielder. Upon hitting the ball, the batter must make it home before the defense tags him.
15.) Foul Balls Caught By Fans Our “Outs”
How great is that?
16.) Walks Might Be The Most Exciting Thing in Banana Ball
When a batter walks in regular baseball, he typically jogs to first base. Not so in Banana Ball! He sprints to first base but doesn’t pull up like Pete Rose. Instead, he makes the run and heads to second. You see, every player on the defensive team must touch the ball before attempting to put out the walked batter.
It’s part of an overall Banana Ball strategy to make boring plays exciting. Oh yeah, visits to the mound by the pitching coach or manager are banned.
17.) Major League Baseball Is Watching Closely
MLB faces a series of challenges with many thinking that the game could use a few updates to make it more entertaining for a younger audience.
Sure, there have been other successful teams who have leaned heavily into the fun and entertainment potential of the experience — think of the Portland Mavericks and the St. Paul Saints – but perhaps, the Bananas are on to something with their style of Banana Ball.
If the Savannah Bananas sell-out streak is any indication, it sure seems like fans are liking what they’re seeing.
By Mike O’Halloran
Mike is the founder and editor of Sports Feel Good Stories.
You are on our 17 Reasons To Love The Savannah Bananas page.
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