The Savannah Bananas have taken the SAV by storm. Yes, the minor league baseball team in my hometown is called the Savannah Bananas. Cheeky little monkeys. The team is fueled by the concept “we make baseball fun” and everything about their game experience is just that. I finally got to go to a game and witness the fan-first mentality myself and was not disappointed.
Grayson Stadium pretty much hasn’t changed since I went as a kid (when the team was the Savannah Cardinals and later the Savannah Sand Gnats) and I love that. Never change, Grayson Stadium, never change. In fact, they have zero intention of modernizing. The jumbotron (which was never actually jumbo) went dark six years ago and there is no plan to replace it. We chatted with the team owner (who is always walking through the stands, chattin it up) who said that’s not what they’re about. He wants people to come to games and be fully present. Instead of looking at a screen, fans are looking at each other. They’re giggling; they’re cheering; they’re loving being from Savannah.
Another thing the owner has no plans to do is spend money on marketing. Back when I was a kid, games were pretty poorly attended. Now they consistently sell out based solely on word of mouth. That’s 4,000 people packing out the stadium and enjoying every minute.
In fact, the game we went to was seemingly sold out, but my beau figured out a loophole. Instead of getting us individual tickets, he ordered a group package – 10 tickets for $180, which includes open seating right behind the first or 3rd base (I recommend 1st base area) and unlimited hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, water, coke, popcorn, and dessert. Alcohol isn’t included, but it’s cheap – $5/beer so this is not a break the bank scenario. In the end, we used 7 out of our 10 tickets and didn’t even feel like we wasted money since we would have easily spent $180 on Saturday night dinner/drinks for the two of us. This was dinner + hours of entertainment for a whole group of people. Tough to beat.
It’s a wild experience. Before the game even begins you’ve got tons of entertainment. There’s the Dad Bod Cheerleading Squad, happy to shake their rumps to laughing and cheering fans. There’s the silver-haired Savannah Nanas with a sweet lil routine. And then there’s the game of hide the banana. (That’s what she said, amirite?) There may not be a kiss cam, but throughout the game they keep the crowd engaged with other games and chats. The players also literally breakdance throughout the game. Get a guy who can do both, ya know?
I don’t know where else you can find an activity that appeals to such a diverse group of people. You’ve got families who love it because the parents can entertain their kids for hourssss at a reasonable price. Then you’ve got the 20-somethings who support ironically because it’s an irreverent small town team and a great way to drink for cheap. Either way, the stadium is PACKED with 4,000 people per night – all of them decked out in team apparel. We had the best time and made sure to bring back tshirt and koozie souvenirs. We’re proud fan-anas!