Jesse Cole, the team’s creator, wants fans to say one thing when they leave a Savannah Bananas game: “That was the most fun I’ve ever had at a baseball game.”
Since 2016, people all over the world have gone crazy about the exhibition baseball club, who play and entertain using their own set of rules.
In the middle of a game, this includes enabling players, coaches, and umpires to do elaborate dance routines and other circus-like antics. Along their sold-out tour, “GMA3” correspondent Will Ganss caught up with the group in Staten Island, New York, earlier this month.
While not on the road, the Savannah Bananas play in front of packed houses at Grayson Stadium in Georgia, which was once the home of the Savannah Sand Gnats, a minor league team affiliated with the New York Mets.
They have amassed more than 200 million likes and more than 10 million followers across all of their platforms, making them a social media star. The Bananas’ fan base didn’t always support them in a big way, though.
According to a YouTube video made by the franchise looking back on Cole and his wife Emily’s story in 2019, they weren’t exactly welcomed when they first arrived in Savannah. Some people in the neighborhood have doubts about the immigrants. Cold calling was used by Cole and his small staff to increase interest in the event and ticket sales, although at first, sales were modest.
A Risky Gamble Pays Off
The couple claims that in order to maintain their goal, they had to sell their house and spend all of their savings. Although it was a significant risk, it ultimately paid off.
Everything changed, according to Cole, once they held a public name-contest for the team. There was a lot of media coverage on the name Bananas, not all of it favorable. The Savannah Bananas quickly gained online notoriety. They have more than lived up to their reputation since that first sold-out home game.
According to their website, they have a pep band, an all-senior dance team named “The Banana Nanas,” and even a game called “Banana Ball” that is intended to keep the action going. According to their website, the Banana Ball rules include a two-hour time limit, no bunting (which will result in your expulsion from the game), and no mound visits. Instead of runs, points are used to win games.
With the exception of the last inning, where every run counts as one point, the team that scores the most runs in an inning receives one point. If a spectator catches a foul ball, it is an out in accordance with rule 8. Excited spectators throng the stands as their favorite online passion takes the field on the road. The Bananas can be described as silly, crazy, and occasionally even ridiculous, but boring isn’t one of them.
Source: ABC News