The heat. I think about it a lot. The last few posts have all been about avoiding the heat. Today, I urge you to suffer through it. That’s the only way to see one of the greatest shows in Savannah – a Savannah Bananas baseball game.
I would not make this recommendation lightly. I wither in Savannah’s heat. I promise you – it’s worth it.
There’s a baseball game to watch, sure. That’s nothing compared to the 9-inning-long comedy, song and dance, acrobatic, mad hatter-style routine put on by owners Jesse and Emily Cole and their cast of characters.
The young couple bought the team back in 2015 when they were still called the Sand Gnats. At the time they repelled fans like a swarm of the biting beasts on a summer day. Jesse and Emily held a contest to rename the team. The public consensus? They would henceforth be known as the Savannah Bananas.
The (admittedly slightly awkward) name opened up endless opportunity for humor and marketing. There’s Santa Banana who drives around the stadium in a yellow “Savannah Van-ana.” There’s the mascot, a banana with six-pack abs named Split. There are babies in little banana costumes. You’ll see banana earrings and necklaces and lots of unlicensed banana-themed gear fans have just stumbled across and made part of their Bananas gameday attire – everything from banana printed maxi-dresses to banana embroidered Vineyard Vines khaki shorts. Jesse Cole owns a whole wardrobe of yellow tuxedos.
Taking the hilarity to the extreme started a buzz, and that buzz turned into sell-out crowds over the course of a few short years. From the minute fans arrive to a game, the show begins. Music blasts from loudspeakers. “Parking Penguins” hand out popsicles to kids. A gymnast in a yellow spandex suit does flips over the fence beyond left field. Ushers and attendants high five every passerby. Between innings you might see a dad get pied in the face or a bunch of moms crawling around blindfolded looking for a banana somewhere on the field. Young baseball players always preform a choreographed dance number and hand out roses to unsuspecting adolescents.
A section of picnic tables along the third base line is available for parties and birthdays. The team rolls out the red carpet for the birthday boy or girl – they get to kick off the game, screaming “Play ball!” to a crowd of 4,000.
Win or lose everyone has a good time. Lucky for us it’s been a winning season – the team is headed to the playoffs.
Seats at a game are a hot ticket item – the waiting list for the stadium club is reported to be 1,000s long – but one that’s accessible if you buy early.
The season is mostly sold out, but there are still a handful of weeknight games available this summer. With the playoffs on the horizon, there should be more added to the schedule in the coming weeks. All the more reason to “Go Bananas!” and snap up a bundle of tickets for next season.