Savannah Bananas putting on a show that MLB would be smart to watch

Savannah Bananas owner Jesse Cole high fives fans as they stream into Grayson Stadium for Banana Fest.

SAVANNAH, Ga. — It’s three hours before the first pitch, but the Savannah Bananas already are well into their pre-game routine on a hot, humid day in June.

On the field at Grayson Stadium, players take batting practice and scoop ground balls. And just outside the lines, other players practice dance routines and watch as the first-base coach works on a stunt that involves launching himself in the air, twisting over three chairs and a picnic table with a player laying on top, and, hopefully, sticking the landing.

He does.

“If you ask more people, the Savannah Bananas are the best thing in baseball right now,” says Bananas manager Tyler Gillum as he hits ground balls to infielders.

Gillum, an assistant baseball coach at South Mountain Community College, is biased, of course, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Attending your first Bananas game is like seeing Times Square for the first time. You don’t know where to look, and you’re sure to miss something.

Savannah Bananas players greet fans waiting in line before the gates open Tuesday, June 7, 2022, in Savannah, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Players dance and participate in promotions before, during and after the game. The Bananas have a pep band, their cheerleaders are either women over 65 — the Banana-Nanas — or a heavyset guy who is in worse shape than the “Dad Bod” printed on his shirt suggests.

Part of the pre-game entertainment includes players leading the sold-out crowd — all games are sold out — in singing “Hey Baby.” Like the girl in the song, everyone wants to give the Bananas a whirl these days, or to be whirled by the Bananas.

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