SAVANAH BANANAS

Who Are the Bananas & What is Banana Ball?

By Steven Luker

The Savannah Bananas are an exhibition baseball team based in Savannah, Georgia. The team was founded in 2016 and has played at Grayson Stadium since its inaugural season. Until 2022, the Bananas competed in the Coastal Plain League (CPL) where they won three Petitt Cup championships (2016, 2021, and 2022). However, after the growth of their alternate “Banana Ball” format, the team transitioned entirely to exhibition games against their partner touring team, the Party Animals, and kicked off the Banana Ball World Tour. The team has been featured by ESPN, The Wall Street Journal, and Sports Illustrated because of its on-field hijinks and viral videos.

Savanah Bananas

On February 25, 2016 following a name-the-team contest, the Bananas name, logo and colors were officially revealed by the team.

The 2016 Bananas ended their first season as the top seed in the CPL West Division, earning home-field advantage for the first two games of the playoffs. In game one, the Bananas beat the Asheboro Copperheads, 3–2, with the first walk-off in franchise history. The Bananas then defeated the Forest City Owls, 2–0, to win the CPL West Division championship and advance to the Petitt Cup Championship. Game one of the championship was played at Grayson Stadium, where the Bananas defeated the Peninsula Pilots, 8–4.

The team traveled to Hampton, Virginia, where the Pilots’ 4–3 win in game two forced a winner take all game three. The Bananas took home the Petitt Cup after a 9–7 win in game three. The Bananas were named the league’s organization of the year in both 2016 and 2017.

Eric Byrnes - Banana Ball

Now that you know who the Bananas are I will cover – what is banana ball? Let me explain. Banana Ball is like the Harlem Globetrooters of baseball and they play the game of baseball with their own twist. Now you may be wondering what are the rules in banana ball. Well I will tell you about them and you tell me what you think in the comments below.

The Rules Are Bananas

Rule number one of Banana ball is that The team that scores the most runs in an inning gets one point, except in the 9th inning when every run counts as one point. If an inning ends with one team at five points and a lead, that team wins.

Rule number two of Banana ball is that there is a two-hour time limit on games. If a team is leading on points at that time, that team wins. This rule is explained that whoever has the most points in each inning wins the innings so lets say you score 5 runs and your friend scores 8 runs he wins the inning and gets the points.

Rule number 3 of Banana ball is No bunting. A batter who attempts a bunt is ejected from the game. This means there is no butting whatsoever, they want to speed up the game.

Rule number 4 of Banana ball is batters are not allowed to step out of the batters box; a violation is an automatic strike. Unlike baseball you are allow to step out of the box to regroup and figure out what to do and adjust your swing or anything else you will need to do.

Rule number five of Banana ball is batters are allowed to “steal” first base. Specifically, they can attempt to advance to first base in the case of a wild pitch or passed ball at any time during the at-bat. So basically if the pitch goes to any count you are allow to take off to go to first base.

Rule number six of Banana ball is that no mound visits are allowed. So you can’t call time and discuss what you want to do with a batter and make a plan how to attack the hitter.

Bananas

Rule number seven of Banana ball is walks are now called sprints. After the fourth ball, the batter is allowed to advance as far around the bases as he can. The ball must be sequentially thrown to all of the fielders apart from the pitcher, starting with the catcher; the ball remains dead, with the batter-runner not liable to be put out, until all fielders apart from the pitcher and catcher have touched the ball. This means that you can either get as many bases as you can so you can possibly score a run straight up walk in banana ball.

Rule number 8 of Banana ball is that any foul balls caught by fans are counted as outs. The Savannah Bananas made this rule for the fans to be part of the game and there has only been only one time this has happened.

The last and final rule of Banana ball is that Ties are broken by what the Bananas call a “1 on 1 showdown” which can last at least three rounds. Each team selects a pitcher and hitter to face off, with the pitching team having only the pitcher, catcher, and a single fielder during the first round of the showdown. In the second round, the fielder is eliminated. If a third round is needed, the fielder is back but the bases are loaded. In any showdown inning, the hitter has to score a run in order to earn a point for the tiebreaker.

A batter who draws a walk advances to second base, with the hitting team allowed to send a new batter to the plate. A showdown inning can only end with an out or a run scored. So basically this means that it only occurs if the game is tied and the time limit has expired and this way is how they determine the winner if there is a tie.

The Savannah Bananas had a handful of former major league players ranging from Bill Spaceman Lee, Eric Byrnes, Johnny Gomes and others. 

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