SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – After a season filled with uncertainty, the Savannah Bananas are set to begin the 2021 campaign Thursday night with a bit more clarity and flexibility.
“We learned from it and still put on a show,” team owner Jesse Cole said when asked about playing the 2020 season during the pandemic. “Now that we are able to open up a little more and get more people in here and more energy we feel we are ready for it.”
The Bananas will kick off the new season against rival Macon Bacon. Masks will be required for at least the first two home games because the City of Savannah’s mask ordinance runs through Monday, May 31. Capacity has been increased to 75 percent, up from the 50 percent allotment last season.
“I think fans are going to feel what they felt the first few seasons and maybe even more so,” Cole added. “I think it’s going to be more electric this summer than it’s every been in Bananaland.”
This year’s roster is made up of 28 players, including a couple of seasoned veterans who have grown to love this city and this team over the years.
“It’s day two or three here and we already act like a brotherhood,” Bill LeRoy, who is returning for his fourth straight year, explained. “We’ve had a great time and I’ve had a great time the last four summers. I love this park and I love the fans it brings. All the energy — I can’t stay away.”
Mixed in with the veterans are players relatively new to the scene, such as East Georgia State’s Ty Jackson. The sophomore outfielder said he knew this team was ‘different’ from the moment he stepped on field for the first practice.
“When they had me out in the outfield taking pictures they had me take off my shirt and smear banana on me,” Jackson explained with a simle. “That’s when I was like ‘yep, it’s going to be a crazy summer.’”
First pitch for the Bananas’ season opener against the Bacon is set for 7 p.m. The WSAV sports team will be there to bring you the sights and sounds from Grayson Stadium in the evening newscasts.