SAVANNAH, Ga.- The name that rose to the top of a pool of more than a thousand suggestions for the new baseball team in Savannah is Bananas. Fans have been digesting the moniker for more than a week, but the team owner is hoping it’s a name that will grow on baseball fans in Savannah. Jesse Cole, the owner of the Savannah Bananas, says the new name is a perfect fit to breathe new life into baseball at the Historic Grayson Stadium. “We’re gonna have non-stop fun. Dancing players and we’re gonna have some people getting pied during the games…in addition to the fun and entertainment it’s great baseball, some of the top collegiate players from all over the country will be playing here at Grayson Stadium.” said Cole.
Cole says the family fun factor is a cornerstone in the foundation of Fans First entertainment, the company behind the Savannah Bananas. This is not Cole’s only team, their website, Fans First Entertainment, also owns and operates the Gastonia Grizzlies of the Coastal Plain League. The Grizzlies have led the league in attendance the past three seasons, been named Organization of the Year and recognized regionally and nationally for unique from promotions and their fan experience.
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 20th season in 2016, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had nearly 1,300 alumni drafted and 81 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII.
In Savannah, some fans are already showing their support on social media, but some tell us they like Bananas a lot better than Sand Gnats. Loverne Reynolds says the new name is more relatable. ” I really was wondering what was a sand gnat anyway..so, at least, I know what a banana is.” Reynolds said with a laugh. Katy Bogart of Savannah says the new team name has real appeal for her. ” It does… also… like the pun, but definitely real appeal.” said Bogart.
Cole says the new name is not just talk of the town, it’s grabbed some national attention. ” We’ve been absolutely blown away. This morning on national Sportscenter, Sporting News, Baseball America. it’s been trending on Twitter uh, we never knew it would get this much attention.” Cole said. Opening night for the new team is June 2, 2016.