Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Savannah Bananas: A Night at the Ball Park


 Last year Savannah lost its minor league team when the Sand Gnats moved to Columbia, South Carolina. It's no longer just the major league teams that chase new stadiums and Columbia provided one for the Sand Gnats.  I'd like to know whoever thought it a good idea to call a Single A baseball club the name of one of Savannah's nastiest residents?  In Savannah, the Sand Gnats played in the "historic Grayson Stadium" which has been around for 90 or so years. I know the stadium may not be up to snuff for professional ball players, but I like it.  You're close to the action.  There are large overhead fans that cools the fans below.  There's plenty of shade in the main seating areas.  And the best, the food and beer is cheaper than at a major league game. Watching a game in Grayson is a nice experience.  I was heartbroken to learn that the Sand Gnats were moving, but figured good riddance.  Sadly, they left the sand gnats behind when they packed up their bats and swept out the locker rooms.  Baseball appeared to be a thing of the past in Savannah.


The owner promoting the team
But up steps a young local businessman with the idea of a new team, the Savannah Bananas.  They are not exactly a minor league team. The players are all also college students and play for college teams.  They are a part of the "Coastal Plain League," a name borrowed from an old "Class D" minor league (a notch down from Single A).  The league stretches from Virginia to Georgia and two of my old locales support teams (the Petersburg Generals and the Wilmington Sharks).  The college players who make up these teams are hoping for a chance at the pros, and this gives them a venue to play once the college season is done.  They have a rather short season (mid-June to mid-August and play 24 home games.  This past Thursday night I went with a group from church to see this new team.  The owner is a marketing genius.  Last year, there'd be 1000 people on a good night to watch the Sand Gnats.  This year, they've been selling out with 4000 or more fans.  The food is even cheaper than last year (for a group, you can get a $15 a ticket that includes an all-you-can-eat wristband allowing you to munch out on hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, popcorn, cookies and soft drinks).  


The King of Potassium

The mascot is the "World's Strongest Banana," also known as the "King of Potassium."  The owner pranced around in a yellow tux, obviously enjoying the crowd.  Crews in banana costumes swept the infield, stopping at second base to dance.  Between one inning, there was a "catch the banana in the pants" stunt, that pitted two fans wearing over-sized pants trying to catch tossed bananas.  I don't think they can brag that no bananas were harmed in that stunt and there may have been other damages.  I hope the contestants were wearing cups.  And there was a little baseball mixed into the night's entertainment.  I was wanting the Asheboro Copperheads to slip on a banana, but sadly they made banana pudding, peeling the local team 6-4.  What's a baseball post without a few cliches!

I am up in North Carolina for a week with limited internet access, so I'll catch back up when I return.  I'm posting this from a coffee shop in Carthage.

26 comments:

  1. Sand Gnats - gotta love those minor league mascots. Savannah Bananas is much nicer and I like that yellow tux!

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  2. That yellow tux is too much. Savanna Bananas has a nice ring to it, though. And I like bananas, so I may root for them.

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  3. The names are too funny, love it. That price for all you can eat is really good. I'm not really into sports but love the names.

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  4. Sounds like a lot of energy and creativity. Have fun in North Carolina.

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  5. "I'm posting this from a coffee shop in Carthage."
    I'm pleased you did it was great to read about the Savannah Bananas.

    Have a good week

    All the best Jan

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  6. "I'm posting this from a coffee shop in Carthage."
    I'm pleased you did it was great to read about the Savannah Bananas.

    Have a good week

    All the best Jan

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  7. We need more marketing geniuses to help spread smiles like that. I'd even go to a game (though I'm no sports fan) to see a yellow tux and banana shenanigans. Thanks for sharing the fun, Sage.

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  8. I would have to go to a game just to see that Banana.

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    1. You know, they play against Wilmington!

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  9. I've only been to one minor league game, but was impressed by how much more fun it was!

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  10. Hello, Sage! Hope that you are having a good time in NC. Baseball is one of my favorite things about summer :)

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  11. Yeah, the way these team move around doesn't make any sense. We got the Sand Gnat, which changed their name to the Lightning Bugs are something, while the Blowfish left Columbia to move across town and take up residence in a seriously crappy and cheap stadium about a half mile from my house.

    The new Lexington County Blowfish like to have fireworks around 9:00pm and 10:00pm, about the same time I've gone to bed. I have literally fallen out of bed and hit the floor from the shock of the sounds.

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  12. Your game traditions are something of a mystery to those outside of the USA. We get the hitting kicking of the ball, we don't get the food&drink thing. And we really don't get the cheerleaders.

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  13. Best blog post of the month Jeff, you even got a slight chuckle out of one crusty old base.

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  14. Aww - this post made me smile! Thanks for that. I would go to those games every time, I think. So much fun. The world needs more of that, I think.

    What's up with limited internet access in North Carolina??? That will be me, too, next week when I am at the house in the Nantahala Forest with my sisters.

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  15. I hate when they give you package deals that include all you can eat anything. I always feel like I need to get my money's worth and regret it the following day!

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  16. Sounds like a lot of fun. The owner must indeed be a marketing genius to be able to increase the size of the crowd by such a large margin.

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  17. I love going to the minor league games...we have the hillcats, though they are considering a name change. i really hope it is a publicity stunt because the names are...not good. ha.

    the worlds strongest banana. ha. i like that.

    tara and i were just down in beaufort on a little get away to rejuvenate after my return.

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  18. Minor league baseball is the best and the independent leagues are nothing to sneeze at. When I lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, Saints games were a tough ticket. Going to see the Twins was actually much easier.

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  19. I'm back from a wonderful family camping trip in Wisconsin, not any games like this but, wow, what a blast you surely had, this is one cool and entertaining post! Great costumes too.

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  20. Savannah Bananas is hilarious and the costumes are just delightful. Sounds like people who just love to have a good time.

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  21. I'm not familiar with baseball, but this sounds fun. Great pics. I love the banana theme.

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  22. Sand Gnats does sound kind of itchy! Loved the yellow suit the owner donned. He's not terribly shy, is he?

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  23. Great post! I love minor league baseball. When I was a kid there was a Low A team that played it's home games at a park very close to my house. The team was never very good, and the players would come and go, but us local kids loved them.

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