The Savannah Bananas are a baseball team in the Coastal Plain League that began play in 2016. They were named the league's organization of the year in both 2016 and 2017. The team sold out every game of the 2017 season and has been featured on MSNBC, ESPN, and others. Based in Savannah, Georgia, the Bananas play their home games at Grayson Stadium.
|League||Coastal Plain League (South)|
|League championships||(1) 2016|
|Colors||Blue, Green, Yellow|
|Ownership||Fans First Entertainment (Jesse & Emily Cole)|
Following the departure of the South Atlantic League's Savannah Sand Gnats for Columbia, South Carolina, on September 22, 2015, the Coastal Plain League announced Savannah as its newest team to begin play for 2016. On February 25, following a name-the-team contest, the Bananas name, logo and colors were officially revealed by the team.
The Bananas have gained local and national recognition for ticket sales and marketing. The team sold out 17 of 22 games played at Grayson Stadium in their first season and are currently on a 43-game sell out streak, dating back to 2016. Their innovative marketing includes the use of videos including "Can't Stop the Peeling," "Dolce & Banana," and "Dancing with Darius."
The 2016 Bananas ended their inaugural season as the 1st seed in the CPL West Division, earning home-field advantage for the first two games of the playoffs. In game one, the Bananas beat the Asheboro Copperheads 3-2 with the first walk-off in franchise history. The Bananas then defeated the Forest City Owls 2-0 to win the CPL West Division championship and advance to the Petitt Cup Championship.
Game one of the championship was played at Grayson Stadium, where the Bananas defeated the Peninsula Pilots 8-4. The team traveled to Hampton, VA where the Pilots' 4-3 win in game two forced an all-or-nothing game three. The Bananas took home the Petitt Cup after a 9-7 win in game three.
The Bananas continued to generate national attention during their 2017 season with record breaking attendance, breaking their own CPL single season attendance record after only 22 regular season games. In addition, in game entertainment provided by dancer-turned coach Darius Johnson and other promotions were also subject to national coverage.
The Bananas again qualified for the CPL playoffs in their 2nd season, finishing 2nd in the West Division. They defeated the High Point-Thomasville HiToms 9-3 in the single elimination game, but lost to their fellow Fans First team, the Gastonia Grizzlies, 0-2 in the division championship.
The Bananas recorded over 91,000 total fans at 25 home games in 2016. They broke the CPL's single season attendance record, previously held by the Peninsula Pilots, after only 22 regular season games.
Out of 24 regular season home games, there were 17 sellouts and 2 rain outs. One of three playoff games also sold out.
The team also ranked second in average attendance (3,659 fans per game) among 160 collegiate summer teams across the country.
In 2017, they welcomed 108,498 fans, once again breaking the league's attendance record. They also sold out all regular season games, with an average of 4,173 fans each night.
- "The Coastal Plain League Announces Expansion into Savannah, Georgia". Coastal Plain League. September 22, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- "Savannah Baseball Announces Team Name and Unveils Logo". Coastal Plain League. February 25, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- "Savannah's new baseball team: The Bananas". SavannahNow.com. Savannah Morning News. February 25, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- "Bananas Videos – The Savannah Bananas". thesavannahbananas.com. Retrieved 2016-08-23.
- "Bananas Win CPL Championship – The Savannah Bananas". thesavannahbananas.com. Retrieved 2016-08-23.
- "Savannah Bananas break own league attendance record in split with Blowfish". savannahnow.com. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
- "VIDEO: Savannah Bananas' first base coach's dance moves land him on ESPN, CNN". savannahnow.com. Retrieved 2017-07-14.
- Reichard, Kevin (2016-08-15). "2016 Summer Collegiate Attendance by Average". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 2016-08-23.