Top 8 Moments from the Second Ever Bananas vs Kansas City Monarchs Challenger Series

Written by Biko Skalla:


First things first: Are the Atlanta Braves mad at us?!

After Sean Murphy hit a home run Friday night Spencer Strider offered him a delicious reward. The fruit for which we are named, a fiber and potassium powerhouse that’s good for digestion and immune health. But instead of injecting vitamins B6 and C straight into his system, Murphy grabbed the Banana and like he was Rob Gronkoswki in the end zone, sent it on an express route to the dugout floor. Absolutely appalling behavior.

“Why oh why would anyone EVER do that?!” you’re probably asking yourself right about now. Well, myself and the best minds Bananaland has to offer have a hypothesis.

You see about a week before this atrocity occurred in Truist Park, Major League Baseball told the Braves they could no longer use their big hats in the dugout for their home run celebrations because they weren’t made by New Era, MLB’s official hat provider. It was a fan favorite celebration and a sad day in baseball as we now knew we would not be getting any more of these pictures…

But in a remarkable coincidence, the Savannah Bananas entire team would be wearing these magnificent oversized hats the day after Major League Baseball put the kibosh on the Braves signature celebration…

So, naturally, the Braves chose violence. I would be surprised if there was not a response from the Bananas this coming week, for Split’s sake. We cannot stand idly by while the big league club we share a state with goes around smashing Bananas willy nilly. When such a response comes, oh mighty Atlanta Braves, just remember that you fired the first shot here.

Okay, had to get that off my chest before we dug into the main course here.

The Return to Kansas City

The first ever Challenger Series was last May 6th and 7th with the Monarchs taking game one and the Bananas winning game two. It was a remarkable experiment that paved the way for the 22 Challenger Games we slapped on this year’s schedule. The rematch would be a three-game series, with the state of Kansas on the line.

Once again the Monarchs were more than worthy opponents, with six players having MLB experience and nearly every man on the roster having at least a handful of years in Minor League Baseball. They came out with a bang once again, as 8-year MLB vet Chris Herrmann smashed a colossal 3-run homer just four batters into the series and KC took two of the first three innings Thursday night…

Then in the fourth, the former number one prospect of the Chicago White Sox, Micker Adolfo, drove a ball to dead center that looked destined to be an extra-base hit…

DR Meadows and Jim Edmonds (Spider Man Meme)

Easily the best play I’ve ever seen in four years of broadcasting for the Bananas. Here it is side by side with Edmonds’ incredible catch in 1997.

Of course DR’s snag was worthy of SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays as well…

Honestly insane that they only gave this the 5th spot on the Top 10. For reference, Dylan Kurahashi-Choy Foo got the top play of the night with this miraculous catch last summer…

That’s also one of the greatest plays I’ve ever seen made in Bananaland, but DR’s was even more impressive to me. Figure it out, SportsCenter!

The Bananas would fall 4-2 to the Monarchs in night one, but they got to turn to their ace Kyle Luigs for game 2, who was coming off a superb start against the MLBPAA…

We Surprise Cowboy Kyle with his First Showman of the Night Award

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a wider smile on my face than I did for that minute and a half on Thursday night.

Kyle Does it AGAIN!

As it would turn out, after not getting any Showman of the Night Awards across his first eleven starts of the tour, Cowboy Kyle would do it in back-to-back outings as he dominated the Monarchs in game 2…

We’ll see if the 6-year Banana can stay hot against the Party Animals this coming weekend!

I’ll Take Four Walk-offs But No Repeats Please

Kyle got plenty of run support from the fellas, as the Bananas walked-off four innings in four different ways…

Jeremy Guthrie Whips Out the Kansas City Special

Kyle wasn’t the only guy putting in work on the bump on Friday night, as Jeremy Guthrie made his Bananas debut in style…

Guthrie still holds the fifth fastest inning of all-time (1:27) from his outing on March 11th pitching for the MLBPAA against the Nanners and he was touching 89 mph on Friday night. For reference, Kyle was about 89-92 mph with his heaters that very same evening. Safe to say Jeremy has an open invite to Bananaland.

With the excellent pitching and clutch hitting the Bananas cruised to a 4-1 victory on Friday setting up a winner-take-all rubber match on Saturday.

Bananas Go Bombs Away on Saturday

Jackson Olson, Dakota McFadden, and Eric Jones all took journeys to The Land of Good n’ Plenty on Saturday night and they were all immensely important blasts. Olson won the second inning. D-Mac tied the fourth inning which the Bananas then won two batters later. Jones sent the game to Showdowns when they were an out away from defeat…

This is where it is time for goofy ole’ Biko to become Banana Ball analyst Biko to breakdown where this thing went awry for the Nanners. It’s truly a tale as old as time in our young sport as it all came down to the dichotomy between entertainment and competitiveness.

The Nanners went with Connor Higgins to try and close out Saturday’s game. A good thought, as Higgins was throwing 94-97 mph in KC and has more affiliated experience than anyone outside of 76-year-old Bill Lee. The problem is they had him sprint from the right field stands to the mound for his entrance so he was absolutely gassed and walked the first batter he faced on four pitches. After the Monarchs had made a mockery of the first 13 ball-four-sprints they received in the series, Justin Wylie caught the Bananas off-guard by actually sprinting out of the box and getting to second safely. It was the only time a Monarch made an ounce of effort to take more than one base in their 14 sprints they had across the three games. As it turned out, it was winning time for KC. A single immediately followed to tie the game and then a 2-out double gave the Monarchs their first lead since Thursday night.

Then the EJ homer saved the day and sent us to Showdowns, where Higgins went back out there but had clearly not been debriefed enough on how “The Chase” works, in the event he walks someone. Well obviously then he walked Micker Adolfo, sprinted through first base, turned around to get the ball from Bill LeRoy and raced across the middle of the infield. It was a rough scene, and nearly a disastrous one as the 6’5″ Higgins almost trucked the 6’4″ Adolfo at first base. Monarchs up 4-3.

Then Jones hit the ball that he, myself, and I’d bet the vast majority of the people in Legends Field thought was heading over the Home Run Patio. If it had, it would be the first time in Banana Ball history a team won in Showdowns with an out-of-the-park home run. Remember, if you hit a home run over the fence in Showdowns it does not matter what the score is, your team wins.

Anyhow, it was a couple inches short, the ball ricocheted off the top of the wall and nearly rolled all the way back into the infield. Justin Wylie easily threw out EJ at home to win the game 4-3, the season series 2-1, and the lifetime series 3-2 for the Monarchs.

As Michael “Vitamin” Deeb said so eloquently on our postgame show, “We came up short, but we died by the barrel. If you’re gonna go down, that’s the way to do it.”

Before I prepare you for the week ahead in Bananaland, a little bonus content that I really enjoyed from KC…

Is it Possible to Find a Better Price is Right Contestant Than Christian Dearman?

That just puts a smile on my face right there. Incredible work as per usual from our Marketing Kingz and Queenz.

Thursday and Saturday night the Party Animals and Bananas do battle in Savannah, and then next Monday the Florence Y’alls of the Atlantic League come to Grayson Stadium for a one game winner-take-all affair!

We’ll be live at 6:30 pm eastern for the pregame show on Thursday, as always free to watch on our YouTube page. Boy am I excited to see these Party Animals again. Four games in a row without them is far too long. I literally just started listing out their entire roster and got more excited with every name I wrote. Then I realized I’m just thrilled to see all of them so listing every name here is pointless. I digress. Let’s get back to Banana Ball at its best. The Party Animals (13-9) hold a 4-game advantage over the Bananas in the head-to-head series. Can’t wait to see what happens this weekend!

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