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Elephant Rumblings: Meet the Savannah Bananas

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MLB: OCT 09 NLDS - Game 1 - Mets at Dodgers Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!

Tuesday was a pretty slow (and bad) news day for A’s baseball, so I’m going to make you a banana:

OK, you’re a banana!

If you’re a fellow Gen-X-er that grew up on Schoolhouse Rock, you know what I’m talking about.

Bad jokes aside, yesterday I stumbled upon this fantastic profile by Margaret Fuhrer at The New York Times of a collegiate summer league baseball team from Georgia, the Savannah Bananas. The team was founded with theatrics in mind from the start, adding a heavy dose of frivolity and showmanship to competitive team sports.

The Bananas do play some “serious” baseball. In fact, they won the 2021 Coastal Plain League championship. But they also play in staged exhibition “Banana Ball” games that feature the team’s calling card, lively dance routines, as well as other shenanigans (bananagans?) like wearing stilts and crowd surfing to the plate. The team has a supporting cast of 120 entertainers that includes a “dad bod cheerleading squad.”

Bananas owner Jesse Cole founded the team in 2016, and his circus-like approach drew interest from spectators—many who aren’t fans of the traditional game—right off the bat. The Bananas have sold out every home game they’ve played at Savannah’s 4,000-seat Grayson Stadium.

A strong social media presence has helped the Bananas cultivate a nationwide fanbase. The team’s TikTok account, @thesavbananas, has 2.5 million followers. This summer, ESPN+ will air a series about how the team created “the greatest show in sports.”

As a “serious” baseball fan, I’m firmly against putting Frankie Montas on stilts for his next start, but Major League Baseball and its players could stand to learn a bit more about showmanship from the Savannah Bananas.

Maybe they already are!

Go check out the full article at The Times for a little bump in your hump day! It’s a pay site, but they allow non-subscribers to read ten monthly articles for free.

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