As promised, I’m back for little Sunday recap of the Bananas last week of action. In my first incarnation of this exercise, the guys were 7-0, we had a music video and plenty of other shenanigans to discuss, and it was just generally an easy going, lighthearted look at what had happened to begin the season. One week later the Bananas are 10-0. This is no longer a time for joking around, or creating more asinine nicknames for players, or highlighting the tomfoolery that has surrounded these last four wins. The boys actually may never lose a game at this point, and it’s certainly concerning for the rest of the CPL. I’m sure some would even call it downright scary. So in reflecting these troubling times throughout the league, here comes a by the books, no nonsense, purely Big J journalistic write up on the Bananas three most recent victories.
Last Sunday the Bananas shipped off to Macon and had the bats working early with singles from Ty, the God of Thunder, Jackson and Eduardo, Mr. Highlight Video, Malinowski to start off the game. A couple hard hit balls found Bacon gloves, stranding the runners on base, and Ryan Archibald muscled up for a 2 out, solo home run to give the Bacon a 1-0 lead. Cole, I can hit and pitch all day, Kitchen, lined a double to left but was stranded after another barreled ball from the Bananas found Macon leather. After a walk and strikeout in the bottom of the 2nd, the Bacon Brass advised the umpires it should be tarp time. Without a drop of rain coming down, I have to be honest I was a little confused by the team’s cowardice towards Mother Nature’s potential wrath. It turned out to be a prudent decision. Not 3 minutes after the tarp had been dragged onto the infield, the skies opened up, and Luther Williams Field was underwater. But with a wet tarp on-hand, it didn’t matter to assistant coach Riley Wooten that no Bananas were in on the action, as he joined the Bacon for a friendly wiffle ball game.
Riley apparently won the game 5-0 (don’t ask me how), so I guess the Bananas are technically 8-0 at this point in time. But we’ll settle with the official 7-0 until we find out if the wiffle ball game’s outcome affects CPL records. Anyhow, the Bananas dugout was underwater, left field was a swamp, and the game was postponed.
On Monday the fellas packed their bags again and headed up to Lexington County to take on the Blowfish. The rain started there about a minute and a half after the bus pulled in, a pinch before 5:00pm, and poured all the way through the Bananas’ departure around 8:00pm. Baseball gods are the only ones who can stop the Nanner’s from winning at this point. Luckily it wasn’t a complete waste of a trip, as I got some work in hitting in the cage and coach Riley learned how to tie his shoes.
After an off-day Tuesday, the Spartanburgers made their maiden voyage down to Historic Grayson Stadium, with bright eyes and bushy tails, riding a 2 game winning streak, and sporting wild dreams of ending the Bananas’ undefeated season. What they did not know, is the whole team had cut Christian, I almost threw a game of Mafia thinking Biko was a dirty cop when really Bill was the Dirty Dawg, Dearman’s hair before the game, and team vibes were impeccable.
The Burgers quickly learned that their fantasies of success in a rowdy Grayson Stadium were just that: fantasies. After Spartanburg pushed across an unearned run in the top of the 1st inning, the Nanners scored 2 runs in the 2nd, 3 in the 3rd, and 2 more in the 4th. The dagger came from Chase, I made the Premier Team but the NCAA wouldn’t let me play, Achuff, who with 2 outs battled back from down 0-2 in the count to lace a 94mph payoff-pitch to left for a 2-run single, making it 5-1 Savannah in the 3rd. Ryan, I’d much rather pitch than dance, Kennedy, dazzled in the first start of the summer. The 3rd year Nanner scattered 3 hits, a walk, and an unearned run, over 4 innings while striking out 5. Tom, “NO HITS FOR YOU!”, Vincent retired all 9 Burgers he faced while striking out a pair. Dylan, go to the 1:33:00 mark of Free State of Jones on Netflix, Cunningham, had some help from Eddie, I’m actually made of pure electricity, Malinowski, who made a fantastic catch in shallow right in the 8th inning to keep DC’s season perfect.
The Pride of Albany, LA, finally let a man on-base (by committing an error himself in the 9th), in his 3rd outing of the season. He K’d 4 in his 2 innings tossed, allowing an unearned run and securing a 7-2 victory for the Bananas to push em’ to 8-0 on the season. Livan, all I do is hit, Reinoso, shined in his first ever organized game playing against his twin brother Dayan, going 2-2 with an RBI, 2 runs scored, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. After the game, while Livan asked Dayan if he wanted his autograph, I visited Nick Clarno in the Bananas bathroom to talk about the win and the behind the scenes antics that led up to it.
The fellas piled onto the bus and made the 4-hour journey up to Spartanburg, SC, to play in tiny old Historic Duncan Park. The Nanners jumped out in front with Danny, if we get in a fight I’ll kick you right in the face, Oberst, bringing home The Pride of the Great White North, Tristan Peters, with an RBI single. Mr. Two Hole, Eddie Malinowski, scored on a wild pitch making it 2-0, and then in the 3rd inning Peters continued his stellar start to his Bananas career with another 5-pitch walk (impressive right) and came in to score on Livan, I would never say this myself but I’m better than my brother Dayan, Reinoso’s RBI single. Livan did it again in the top of the 5th driving in Eddie with another ribeye single to make it 4-0. The Spartanburgers pushed one across and had the go-ahead run in the batter’s box with the bases juiced and 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th. Tyler, I’m going to have this mustache for the rest of my life, Gillum, went to the biggest boy on the team, Jared Beck (7’0″), to try and get the smallest boy on the team, Knicko Billings (5’9″ on a good day), out of the jam. With constant chirps coming from the Spartanburg dugout, the best friend I have from Iowa, Beck, blew the doors off Keegen Sueltz with a 3-2 heater and then let out an incredible roar of emotion directed towards the home dugout. It was actually a pretty incredible moment. Anyhow, then in the 6th, fresh off his first Bananas hit a couple innings earlier, Bryson, I almost knocked myself out sliding headfirst into 3rd base, Bloomer, doubled his Nanners career hit total, and then was driven in by Nick, I’m clearly feeling no negative side effects from eating a live cockroach yesterday, Clarno, to get the run right back. The pitching was stellar from Savannah from start to finish, with Nathan, I’m pretty sure I’m the best looking guy on this team, Dettmer, striking out 5 Burgers across 4 shutout frames. After Knicko’s spot of trouble in the 5th, Beck went on to toss 2.1 scoreless innings, only allowing 1 hit and striking out 5 along the way. Nick, don’t call me Swan Song, Swanson, and Jakob, literally hasn’t given up a hit in 4 outings, Barker, both tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Cole, you wanna see something crazy, Kitchen, bounced a ball off the top of the left field wall and out of Duncan Park for a 2-out, 3-run oppo taco in the top of the 9th to put the game on ice and help secure the 9-1 victory. Livan continued to murk his brother’s team, going 3-5 with 2 RBI’s and a run scored while Clarno had one of the toughest 0-4 evenings I’ve ever seen, scorching line drives straight to centerfield, 1st base for an easy double play, and right field. Funny enough he got his RBI on the only ball he didn’t tattoo all night. Also it wouldn’t be funnier happening to anyone than Clarno. Just classic stuff. Nanners are 9-0.
The Bananas returned to Grayson for their 5th matchup against the Bacon. And here is where I have to say… I think this next video may have been my best idea in my year plus in Savannah. I’ve had plenty of good ones, I mean I’m never afraid to pat myself on the back when I’m killing the game. But this one. This one was pure joy to watch being shot from start to finish. I couldn’t have asked for a better acting job from Gillum and the boys, and it was executed perfectly by my main video men Alex and Nick. I guess my only real gripe is with one of my Executive Producers, Savanah Alaniz, who at this stage in her illustrious career still has not figured out how to avoid being in the background of shots. Anyways, if you have 10 minutes and have not seen how the Bananas lineup was announced for this game, please take a quick peak at this masterpiece of modern television.
Once the game got going, in his first appearance at home, Tristan, I’m honestly down for anything, Peters, got the VIP walkup song treatment from the Banana Band.
By the way, that was the second batter of the game. Tristan would double down the left field line for his first Bananas hit, get moved over to 3rd on a Danny, it doesn’t show up in the scorebook but this was very important, Oberst, groundout to 2nd base, and then score on a Duncan Lutz wild pitch with 2 outs. It turned out that was all the offense the Nanners would need, and that was a good thing because it was all the offense they would get. Certainly credit goes out to Duncan who tossed 5 innings of 3-hit, 1-run ball, and then Max Dejong and Sam Portnoy who threw 2 scoreless innings each in relief. Unfortunately for the Bacon, that was not a good enough performance to get their 2nd win of the season. As you saw with the incredibly dramatic final Banana handed out by America’s hunkiest Bachelor (he’s got a wife and a child but just let me have this one for the sake of the video), Tyler Gillum chose Kyle, I make sure my friends are using shampoo when they shower with me, Luigs, to pitch the Nanners to 10 straight wins. And Kyle did fine I guess. He threw 6 innings of 1-hit baseball, striking out 9, and retiring the final 14 Bacon hitters he faced. An acceptable performance. Then Joe, I hope my team on the Cape doesn’t actually want me to come so I can pitch in Savannah all summer, Miller, came in and promptly retired the first 7 guys he faced, making it 21 straight set down until Tyler Epstein lined a 1-out, 3-2 fastball from Miller down the left field line for a double. The Pride of the Wharton School of Business then struck out Cam Jones and Logan Fink to nail down the 1-0 victory as the Bananas made it double digits wins to start the 2021 season.
Allow me to get ever so slightly nerdy with you before I close this down. Miller and Luigs combined for a 2 hit, 0 walk, 15 strikeout shutout of the Bacon. Kyle now has thrown 15 innings over 3 starts, giving up 2 hits and 1 run, while striking out a CPL leading 21 hitters. He’s got a 0.60 ERA and opponents are hitting a league low of .044 off him. Joe has 18 strikeouts in 11.2 innings, striking a league best 1.6 batters an inning, while only allowing 3 earned runs along the way. The Bananas pitching staff as a whole has struck out a CPL leading 132 batters in 90 innings. That’s 13.2 strikeouts a game.
And a little something for the offense 10 games in:
All of those stats lead the 16-team Coastal Plain League. 10-0 is no fluke, the Bananas are dominating every facet of the game.
After an excruciating 2-hour plus lightning delay turned into the second Nanners game in Macon being postponed this season with 1 out in the bottom of the 2nd inning (kind of bizarre right?), the guys are off today (Sunday) and get back to work Monday in Florence for their first game against the RedWolves this season. It will be a double header in Macon on Tuesday, picking up the first of the 2 games stopped in the 2nd inning and then playing a 7 inning contest afterwards. Off day Wednesday, and then Florence comes to town Thursday, guys go to Spartanburg Friday, and the Burgers come to town Saturday. And then on Sunday I’ll be right back here, writing about the 16-0 Bananas (unless more games get rained out of course). Thank you for putting up with my nonsense, direct all complaints with my writing to my dad Dennis Skalla at Glenerie Farm LLC on Instagram or Facebook, and let’s all have a weird 4 Whiteboard Broadcast week, aye!
Oh, and PS: Shoutout 2-year Banana, Gabe, I’m literally the coolest human alive, Howell, for signing a professional contract with the Washington (Pennsylvania) Wild Things! Just look at the picture below and you don’t need to see anything else about the dude to know my nickname for him is spot on. Also here’s him just being silky smooth at short for some corroborating evidence. Anddddd while we’re doing some Gabe highlights, here’s his grand slam against the Blowfish last summer as well. Okay, LAST THING ON GABE. His, “Time blue,” after lacing a 2-out, 2-RBI double while mic’d up on the broadcast, I think is the slickest line I’ve heard in my life. Alright, that’s it. Congrats Gabe and I’ll see you all next week!