|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.