Written by Biko Skalla:

 

Home sweet home. There’s nothing quite like it. After three magical weeks in a row on the road, it felt truly special to be back inside the hallowed grounds of Historic Grayson Stadium. It was a momentous weekend in Bananaland, as the great folks at Disney decided that Banana Ball needed to be seen by the world and we had the first two ever Nanners games broadcast on ESPN+. And thanks to all the incredible posts about the broadcast that all you fantastic folks sent out over social media, I think we might just get to do this thing with ESPN some more in the future. So once again, and yes I know I’m a broken record at this point but it bears repeating: Bananas Nation, you are the greatest.

So let’s dive right in, and honestly I’m not sure there’s a better way to kick things off than with Jesse, I’m Saving My Big Dance for Birmingham, Cole, and Eric, The Dailiest Hustler, Byrnes, getting us fired up for our network television debut…

And as always, how about the absolute sauce on that puppy from Zack, My Mom Speaks in Cursive, Breaux. Turn me up ZB!

Let’s do our weekly, “How absurd is the line hours before the gates even open,” check…

Yup, bonkers, as per usual.

Now how about some Mini Banana Ball before the big boys came out for the main act. The openers were a delight to watch, as Byrnes had his incredibly talented eleven-year-olds split up into unripe Bananas and Let Them Play unis (Byrnes’ team), and they played a half hour Banana Ball game. Kids were taking their shirts off, doing crazy walkups and celebrations, and of course introducing themselves up to home plate…

You’re watching a host of future D1 college athletes and I would wager a handful of professional ballplayers too. It was super fun to watch and pretty inspiring to see Banana Ball played at such a high level by kids. Thanks for making the trip across the country fellas!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programing. Bill, I Have the Need for Speed, LeRoy, and Christian, I Promise That was My First Time in the Back of a Cop Car, Dearman, had an important reminder for the world…

I need an NFT necklace of Dearman doing his weird, excited, straight arm flailing, primal, “We’re on ESPN+ tonight,” roar. I would legitimately wear it every day of my life, no matter the occasion.

It turned out to be an incredibly busy evening for a man who was the next night’s starting pitcher, as Dearman channeled his inner Ben Bailey and took a couple lucky fans on a journey in the Bananas Pedi Cash Cab…

After one of the greatest weekends of my life, I needed the humbling experience of these two fans having not a clue in the world who I am. Once again Dearman cracks me up, this time because of his little chuckle after telling them they’re incorrect for not knowing anything about my existence. Just a guy being entertained by his own schtick. Very relatable.

Once the 2-hour game clock started ticking, the Party Animals wasted no time at all getting going. Tanner, Two First Names for the Price of One, Thomas, worked himself a two-base sprint, (in which he was almost cut down at second), and Cosimo, Just Call Me Cos, Cannella, laced a double to centerfield to bring home Tanner. It would have been a classic lineout to the centerfielder if Reece, Rove Baby Rove, Hampton, wasn’t playing super far in, as per his manager’s instructions. The rover givith, and the rover taketh away.

One run was all the Party Animals would need to win the first inning as Matt, Feeling Solty?, Solter, set the Bananas down in order.

The Party Animals kept their foot on the pedal, coming back to the plate to swing the heck out of the lumber in the 2nd. Andrew, “I Stepped on the Line!”, Don, singled, stole second and then scored on two-out single from Garett, I Always Play with a Cigar Now, Delano. Zak, My Bat Finally Matches My Hair, Whalin, kept the rally alive with a single of his own and then Sam, LEGEND of the Game, Claycamp, doubled home Delano and Whalin to make it a 3-run inning.

Poised to jump out to a 2-0 lead on the evening, Matt started the bottom of the inning with a strikeout but then the Party Animals train went off it’s black and pink tracks. Michael, Clutch Doesn’t Even Begin to Describe Me, Deeb, singled and Eric, No Stash, No Problems, Jones, doubled in Deeb. Danny, I Mean I Guess I’ll Finally Take a Walk, Oberst, had his first sprint of the Tour to bring in EJ and then Ryan, I’d be the Best Player Here if all Our Games Were on ESPN, Cox, lined a ball towards short that Sam Claycamp couldn’t snare with a diving attempt. Sammy was able to knock the ball down and tried to nab Dan who was racing towards third, but an errand throw brought the Bananas 1st baseman home and sent Cox to 2nd base. In comes Malachi, How About my AVG and OBP Though, Mitchell, as a pinch runner. A wild pitch to Dalton, You Can Find Me Online Wherever You Listen to Music, Mauldin, allowed him to steal first while Malachi raced from second all the way home to win the inning 4-3 for the Bananas….

 

The bottom of the 2nd inning was officially a disastrophe for the Party Animals. I declare it.

Kyle was able to keep the Party Animals off the board in the top of the 3rd with some help from his centerfielder…

The rover givith, and the rover taketh away.

Solter returned the favor in the bottom half with some help from his left fielder Andrew Don who gunned down Mr. LeRoy who was trying to stretch a single to a double, (visit the 1:26:45 mark of the broadcast on ESPN+ to see the fantastic play).

The Animals were back at their terrifying offense nonsense in the top of the 4th. Josh, My Golf Walk-Up Went Way More Viral Than Yours, Lavender, got plunked by Kyle to start the frame. Dalton, I Pretended this Ball was a Vegetable, Cornett, smoked a triple down the right field line to score Lavy. Garett Delano skied a sac fly to right to bring in Cornett and then Whalin reignited the rally (literally), with a line drive single up the middle…

@thesavbananas

We thought we were being original by lighting a bat on fire but @Pitbull already been there, done that 🔥 #savannahbananas #baseball #fypシ #viral

♬ Jersey anniversary – Malcolm B

That was actually one of the most insane things I’ve ever seen in a Bananas game. And obviously that’s really saying something!

Whalin ended up being taken off the bases by a fielder’s choice that replaced him with Claycamp at 1st, but the Animals bats were far from done. Breland, My Smoothies Power Biko’s Broadcasts, Almadova, skied what would have been a can of corn to a normal centerfielder but with Reece in the rover position it ended up falling in for an RBI double. The rover givith, the rover taketh away. Tanner Thomas then blooped an RBI double into shallow left to bring home Dova and the Party Animals had themselves a 4-run lead in the 4th.

The Bananas were able to strike back with a pair of runs set up by a Jake, “Wedding, Shmedding,” Skole, 3-base sprint. Dakota, Bananaland is Starting to Feel Like Bakersfield, McFadden, drove in Skole with a single and later in the inning Coxy brought in D-Mac with a walk but that is all the Bananas could muster as they dropped the inning 4-2 and fell behind in the game 2-1.

In comes “The Spaceman” himself, Bill, Take that for MPI, Lee, and he was greeted quite rudely by pinch hitter Michael, I Don’t Give a Darn how Old You Are, Vavasis, who destroyed a home run to left on the first pitch he saw (1:56:30 on the ESPN+ broadcast). It’s really worth a watch. Bill proceeded to get 3 flyouts on the next 5 pitches and badda-bing, badda-boom, badda-bang, just like that he had the quickest inning of the night at 2 minutes and 34 seconds.

With one out in the bottom half, Bill LeRoy bounced a ball between third and short for a base knock. Then with two outs Skole lined a ball up the middle to set up runners on the corners for D-mac who did the exact same thing to bring in Bill to tie the inning at a run each. Vitamin Deeb stepped up to the dish and continued to be the most clutch hitter in the history of Banana Ball as he lined a ball to right for a base hit, but his bid for his Tour leading 6th walk-off was spoiled by a phenomenal throw from Tanner Thomas in right to cutdown Skole at the dish (2:07:50 in the ESPN+ broadcast).

Now the inning ended tied because of the fantastic throw, but Vincent, Sometimes it’s Best to go with Your Second Guess, Chapman, reversed his safe call on the play to out, (I think correctly, but it was a darn close play either way), and there was confusion in the broadcast truck as everyone got discombobulated by Vincent’s discombobulation and we gave the Party Animals a 3-1 lead. We corrected it a little later, but I saw the score was 3-1 on the board and a memory was incepted into my brain of the Party Animals winning three innings so I was none the wiser. Long story short, please disregard what I say as I try to explain the score to first time fans during the next video highlight.

Anyways, Matt, I Throw the Heaviest Ball in all the Land, Malatesta, got some help from his defense so he could face the minimum in the top of the 6th…

You should recognize that voice in the booth, as Christian Dearman makes his third appearance already in the weekend recap without throwing a pitch yet. It was tremendous fun having him with me for a few innings of color commentary. He’s a true renaissance man!

Garett Delano went from the EH spot to the mound for the bottom of the 6th, and with one out his World Tour roommate and Jujutsu training partner Dan Oberst lined a double to left off him. In came Malachi to pinch run and then Ryan Cox had the best at-bat of the World Tour thus far, culminating in this…

Malachi trying to pop the bottle that had a sparkler coming out of it has given me a good chuckle every time I’ve watched this play.

Malatesta came back out for the 7th and worked around a one out walk for his second scoreless inning of the night. Then it was time for our Bananaland 7th inning stretch, and boy was it fun to see Grayson lit up again by the 151st straight sellout in Savannah…

Dalton Mauldin led off the bottom of the 7th looking to kickstart a rally that would push across the game-winning run to avoid heading to the Tour’s third Tiebreaker Showdown, and Dalton ended up being the whole darn rally himself…

The games have been so tight throughout the World Tour but unfortunately it was the Party Animals’ two big bugaboos that struck in unison: walks and untimely defensive miscues.

The Bananas improved to 7-2 on the Tour with their 3-2 win. Let’s take a moment here to appreciate the play of the game one more time, Ryan Cox’s clutch walk-off single in the 6th and the incredible celebration that ensued afterwards…

All in all, it was a fantastic game and a terrific introduction of the sport to the ESPN+ audience.

Luckily for us, we got to do it again the next night!

Bill and Kyle got the people going before the gates opened, in one of the coolest videos I’ve seen come out of Bananaland…

Turn me up boys!!

Once again the pregame entertainment in the stadium was kickstarted by the Let Them Play kids doing another 30 minute Banana Ball game…

These kids are the definition of electric. What good fun it was to see them play the game with so much joy and pizazz.

When it came time for the grownups to take the field, the busiest man in Bananaland had a unique entrance to the mound…

Once again the Party Animals got off to a quick start. Dalton Cornett led the ballgame off with a line drive single to left but was erased from the basepaths on a Tanner Thomas fielder’s choice. Cos Cannella found outfield grass with a loopy liner to left-center and Chris, The Ole’ Six Hole, Kwitzer, bounced a ball through the left side to bring home Thomas.

Dearman kept the damage to that one run, and Bill got things going for the Bananas in the bottom half of the inning…

Bill’s incredible performances on the basepaths throughout the Tour has been one of my favorite surprises thus far. Unfortunately for the Nanners, Emmanuel, I Should’ve Vlogged this Inning, Rosario, picked Bill off and proceeded to toss a scoreless bottom of the 1st and for the second straight night the Party Animals won the first inning.

Christian wasn’t going to give the Animals anything to work with for the rest of the night. He traded scoreless innings with Manny in the 2nd and the 3rd, and was able to strand a pair of two out singles in the 4th to finish another superb night on the bump, lowering his Tour ERA to 2.57 through 21 innings of work.

Let’s take a quick intermission to enjoy Alex, I Actually Find Barrels, Ziegler’s bat tricking walkup to the plate and Maceo, Loosest Hips on the Eastern Seaboard, Harrison’s dancing abilities…

Okay, back to the action!

After being able to hold serve in the 2nd and 3rd innings, Rosario lost his control in the 4th. Dakota McFadden worked a 2-base sprint with one down but Manny immediately picked off Chad, Rats, Beaver. Emmanuel then walked Michael Deeb who got to 2nd on the sprint. Next, Danny Oberst placed a perfect swinging bunt down the third base line and Rosario fired an ill-advised throw down the right field line and Deeb came in to score the 4th inning walk-off run, tying the game at a point apiece. Incase you’re looking for the moment in this game where the Party Animals’ hypothetical train once again went of the hypothetical tracks, look no farther. The rest of this game will be rather ugly for the boys in black and pink.

Mat, That’s How We do it in the Rodeo Baby, Wolf, tossed his first 1-2-3 inning of the Tour, and got to have a blast dancing with pinch hitter Mikey V along the way…

I LOVE the way Vava moves those knees. You should see him tap dance too.

Anyhow, David, Let’s Forget this Outing, Moore, walked Ryan Cox and Dalton Mauldin on a combined 9 pitches and just like that the Bananas took their first lead of the night 2-1.

Bill Lee came in and promptly got two flyouts and a groundout in one minute and fifty-five seconds, securing the fastest inning for the second straight night and the third fastest inning in Banana Ball history.

Eamonn, The Perfect ERA was Nice While it Lasted, Collins, walked Malachi Mitchell to start the bottom of the 6th. Eamonn was able to get a flyout and groundout, (the groundout was thanks to Adam, How About Those First Three Innings, Virant, bringing Breland in from center to play right behind 2nd base where he robbed Bill LeRoy of a walk-off single). Unfortunately for the Party Animals, Eamonn walked Reece Hampton to bring home Malachi and give the Bananas a 3-1 lead…

What a beautiful moment for Reece. Congratulations on your hard earned victory, sir.

Time to take a moment to look at how divine Grayson looked before we started the 7th inning…

Shoutout the King of Jewish Baseball! Hope you’re doing swell down in Mexico, Mr. Fish.

Colin, The Breaker is so Back, Ledbetter, came in and tossed a 1-2-3 top of the 7th and it was time to stretch…

The last chance for the Party Animals rested in the hands of Lucas, I’m Also Not Interested in Remembering this Outing, Kelley. It was a short lived last chance as Lucas immediately walked EJ and D-Mac, the Bananas took a 4-1 lead and the ballgame was over due to the Party Animals having no chance to claw back from the 3 point gap with just 20 minutes to play.

The Party Animals walked 8 batters in the last four innings of the game, all of which the Bananas won even though they only had one hit during that period and it was Dan Oberst’s swinging bunt. The full on collapse of the Bananas archnemesis meant it was time to party outside the park…

Always an unreal scene out there.

Oh and now it’s time for the weekly, this is what Biko forgot to put in the story in correct chronological order. How about 13.3 million views in just 21 hours of being on Tik Tok for the MVP of our weekend recap Christian Dearman and his backup dancers Ryan, Dalton, and Reece…

I don’t know about you folks but my mind is always on Dearman’s body. Just me? Alright let’s move past that one.

Thank you for reliving another unreal weekend of potassium packed madness with me. It was heartwarming to be back in the friendly confines of Historic Grayson Stadium and the back-to-back sellout crowds were ablaze with energy from the opening of the gates to the playing and singing of Stand by Me in the Party Plaza at the end of the night. A hearty thank you to everyone who watched the games on ESPN+ and especially to all of you who commented and posted such kind and funny things about the variety of oddities that occurred.

We’re packing up our instruments, broadcast equipment, costumes, and the enormous cast and crew to ship west to Columbus, Georgia. We play in Golden Park on Thursday and then in Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday in front of 10,0o0 fan sellout. It will be the last two games between the Bananas and Party Animals before we take a two week break and then fly to Kansas City to take on the Monarchs in the Challenger Series.

What a wild and fun ride it’s been and boy oh boy has it flown by thus far. Let’s take some time to sit back and enjoy the last four games we have, because in a flash we’ll be back to playing baseball in the Coastal Plain League. The pregame show will start at 6:00pm ET and first pitch will be at 7:00pm ET on Thursday, and we’ll be back on our YouTube page free for the world to watch. Until then, I’ll see you laterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (belted out in a high pitched decrescendo).