Savannah Bananas Baseball In Tampa, What An Experience!
Back in 2021, Brian Koss, who is Legends on Deck’s Managing Editor and my co-host on the Podcast, ventured north to Savannah, GA to get a close up look at a Collegiate baseball team that was doing things you don’t normally see on a baseball field. The Savannah Bananas was the name and their style of baseball was selling out their home games at the historic Grayson Stadium, in record numbers.
After his trip to Georgia, Brian returned to his home in Orlando, Florida, hooked on this team which sparked him to share with me the amazing experience he had with his son and insisted that we provide the Bananas coverage on our website.
I will admit that my initial response was not one of pure excitement because I really did not understand the magnitude of what he experienced. I knew that I had to experience it all for myself.
Over the past nearly two years, we have shared on the website the Jesse Cole interview, Brian’s own Bananaland adventure, and podcast episodes with manager Tyler Gillum, in-game host Matt Graifer aka “the Young professor” and Party Animal Dalton Cornet. Even with all that I knew through our coverage, I still needed more, and because being honest, watching on YouTube was just not doing it for me. I needed to be there live to get the full effect.
Once the Bananas announced their games in Florida for 2023, I was hooked and knew that I had to be there live.
I reached out to their PR department and they were gracious enough to put me in contact with Kara, who kept in contact with me and worked it out that Brian and I would be granted Media Passes for the game. Receiving that email, had me feeling like a kid on Christmas morning.
Now a quick background, I have been covering minor league baseball games for our site since we started in 2015 and as much as I love minor league baseball, receiving the email that we would be able to be at the sold out Savannah Bananas v the MLB Alumni team, was just an honor. As I stated, I had not been able to experience Bananaland, until Saturday night.
I drove up from my home in Cape Coral, FL and arrived at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, FL at about 3:30 pm, and met with Kara to receive our Media Passes and even though the weather was not participating, you could feel the excitement in the air, almost like I was going to a rock concert. There were people hanging around outside the stadium waiting to get in, as vendors sold Savannah Banana’s gear, with music blaring in the background. Even a wet damp day did not keep people away.
Brian arrived shortly after me and even though we were granted access to the field prior to the game, which did not happen because of the lightning and rain, it was meant to be, as it allowed us to stay in the corridors (behind and under the stands) and watch as the fans came pouring through the gates with anticipation in their eyes of an amazing evening to come. The Bananas are all about the Fan First experience and it truly showed in how the fans were put first for everything.
As the rain poured down, fans who had VIP access, (what the Bananas call VIB – Very Important Banana), were able to have a meet and greet with the team and Jesse Cole. Brian and I were allowed to attend the event as well and it was awesome.
The team strolled around the room, high fiving every fan and then stopped and met with anyone that wanted to talk, receive an autograph or just take a picture with them. We were able to catch up with Gillum, Graifer, Cornett and a few of the other players that we have connected with through social media. It was just an awesome time.
Initially the rain looked like it would totally wash away the game, but as they say in Show Business, the Show Must Go On, and sure enough Jesse Cole announced to the fans that the game would indeed go on.
From the moment the tarp was being taken off the field, to the moment the last pitch was thrown, the Greatest Show on a baseball field, was just that, the Greatest Show that you would ever see.
In just under two hours, which is the allotted time for the game, I was able to feel the pure excitement that I have heard in Brian’s voice for two years. Now here I was, feeling it all for myself.
From the Official Bananas DJ Mark “Shark” Ediss, who plays songs nonstop throughout the entire game, to the dancing on the field and in the stands, the in-between each inning on-field games, getting to witness Matt Graifer live and in his element, to meeting the players and staff, to watching everyone with the Banana’s connecting with the fans at every opportunity, to the actual game itself, it was a nonstop exciting adventure that kept you engaged for every second of the two hours.
Simply amazing to go to a baseball game and just leave it not wanting the game to end. And it wasn’t just the game, but the whole Bananaland experience, which was simply brilliant.
My recommendation is that if you can venture over to Grayson Stadium in Savannah or grab a ticket for one of the World Tour games around the country, you will not be disappointed. It will be one of the most exciting and enjoyable times on a baseball field, as there is nothing else like it.
More to come on the Banana’s as they finally have a fan in me bigger then I was on Friday.
All I can honestly say is Wow! What an experience!!
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