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For the first time since the BayBears left for Madison, Minor League Baseball will entertain crowds at Hank Aaron Stadium — at least for one night.
The Savannah Bananas baseball team of Georgia has chosen Mobile for its One City World Tour event.
A member of the Coastal Plain League, which features 16 teams throughout the Carolinas, the Bananas will bring what they refer to as “their world-famous baseball circus” to Mobile’s stadium on March 26, 2021.
The Bananas announced the One City World Tour in October and received nominations from fans in over 300 cities and 15 countries. Those nominations were narrowed down to New Orleans, College Station, Texas, Daytona Beach, Fla., and Johnson City, Tenn., before Mobile was ultimately chosen as the destination for the tour. After the team visited the stadium and met with local officials around Mobile, it became obvious the city should host the Bananas One City World Tour, according to the Bananas.
The team received thousands of suggestions on various social media platforms for a host city for the first event. Bananas owner Jesse Cole said the team was looking for a city with a stadium and one that had recently lost a team. Mobile fit the description perfectly.
“For the first time, we’re bringing the full show on the road,” Cole said. “The whole circus is coming on the road.”
The idea for the road trip came when Cole noticed that by the Bananas’ second-ever contest in Savannah they had sold out, and thousands of fans from all over the country had signed up to the team’s waiting list for tickets.
“Never imagined the support we’d receive,” Cole said. “Every game has sold out after the first one. We had an opportunity to bring the show on the road.”
So-called “Bananaball” is a bit different from the traditional baseball Mobilians are used to. The teams can’t bunt or draw a walk, and batters at the plate have the opportunity to steal first base. Games are limited to two hours.
Cole said the event coming to Mobile is part of what the Bananas do in addition to their league play. While the Coastal Plain League plays a more standard style of baseball each summer using college all-star players, Cole said Bananaball is a way for the team to entertain fans year round.
In this format, Cole said, the team signs professional players to two sides: the Bananas and the Party Animals. The teams play a Globetrotter-style match, but Cole said it’s competitive and unscripted.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson promoted the upcoming event by wearing a Bananas shirt and hat in a photo he tweeted.
“I think I speak for all Mobilians when I say it’s an honor to see Mobile selected as host of the Savannah Bananas One City World Tour this spring,” Stimpson said in a statement. “Our community has so many ties to baseball history, and we are truly excited about the opportunity to bring this unique and wildly entertaining take on America’s oldest pastime to Hank Aaron Stadium.”
Cole said Mobile fans have been very excited about the event so far. He said hundreds have joined the waitlist for tickets. If the waitlist grows even more, Cole said, there’s a possibility the Bananas could schedule a second night in Mobile.
“Based on the response, we may go to a second night,” he said. “The goal is to be there more than one night.”
Fans who want the opportunity to see the Savannah Bananas One City World Tour at Hank Aaron Stadium March 26 should visit thesavannahbananas.com/onecityworldtour and join the Ticket Priority List or get information on outings for their group, organization or business.
As the event expands, Cole said, the Bananas plan to go to more cities in the future.
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