Written by Biko Skalla:

 

Two cities for the price of one! What a magical way to close out the Party Animals vs Bananas leg of the World Tour. 12 games in the books and it feels like the February 26th tryout was two weeks ago, max. We knew it was going to fly by, but being on the tail end of it is still surreal. The two teams will combine strengths in two weeks and ship on off to Kansas City, Kansas, to take on the American Association champion Kansas City Monarchs. But before we get to all of that we’ve got wild games in Columbus, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama, to recap.

I can’t think of a better way to kick the weekend off than with the greatest guide to stretching my eyes have ever seen and my ears have ever heard…

Truly illuminating stuff.

One of my favorite parts of the World Tour was the super unique ballparks all throughout it. Jackie Robinson Ballpark is in the middle of the Halifax River and its a stone’s throw from the beach. Riverwalk Stadium is a converted train station turned into a baseball field right on the edge of the Alabama River. The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches was about as luxurious as a stadium can be, as it hosts both the Astros and Nationals in spring training.

Plus we got two games in our darling Historic Grayson Stadium to kickoff the Tour and then two more after West Palm Beach, which is always a capital B Blast.

That brings us to the field our dear friend Bill, It’s all About the Exhale, Lee, was stretching in. Golden Park is nestled right on the edge of the Georgia side of the Chattahoochee River, and although it was built in 1951, there had been a baseball field there since 1926 and the park has an ancient feel to it. The brick outfield wall is unforgiving, the red elevator is slightly sketchy but did the job well, and the laundry list of guys who played in or around the stadium is immense.

And what’s the best way to celebrate such a unique and special stadium? With a sold out crowd of course…

What a sight.

With another city fired up for the Bananas show, the guys had to make sure their line dancing skills were ready for the bright lights of Golden Park…

I was surprisingly mesmerized by this dance.

When it came to game time it was the stretching maestro himself Bill Lee on the bump. With two outs in the 1st, Cos, Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife, Cannella, singled and Chris, My Hair’s Better than Viro’sKwitzer, tripled him in.

Garett, Anyone Want a Game-Worn Cowboy Hat?, Delano, worked a scoreless bottom of the 1st and the Party Animals jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

After a Breland, Stick to the PlanAlmadova, double to start the 2nd inning, Andrew, I’m Coming for You Whalin, Don, tied Zak for the Banana Ball record with his second career pop out to a fan…

Shoutout Scott Jones for the great catch! Your name will be etched forever in Nanners lore.

Unfortunately for the Bananas, they couldn’t capitalize on the aid from their fans. Zak, Fire, Fire, Fire, FireWhalin, reached on an error, Sam, Don’t Call Me Clay, Claycamp, doubled in Whalin, and then Lenny, The Real Spaceman, DiBenedetto, singled home Sammy.

Down 3-0 in the inning, the Bananas had no chance to mount a comeback off Delano, who eliminated the only base runner the Nanners got in the frame…

Garett tracking down his jujutsu training partner, Dan, Dan Oberst, Oberst, was good for some major bragging rights in the Luigs and LeRoy Bed N’ Breakfast.

With the Party Animals up 2 to nothing two innings into the game, Eric, This is no Fluke, Byrnes, turned to Colin, Is it One N or Two?, Ledbetter, who gave up a leadoff single but then diced the Party Animals with three straight strikeouts.

Delano returned the favor in the bottom half, striking out a pair and finishing the night with three strong shutout innings.

Ledbetter got two outs and Byrnes went back to the arm barn for the Nanners most unique reliever…

A steal of first base and a groundout to 2nd. Impressive stuff from Dakota, The Eye in the Sky, Albritton! It caught the attention of a few friends of ours too…

Things you love to see!

On to the bottom of the 4th we go. In came Logan, This is My Home, Maxwell, and the big boy worked around a 2-out double from Jake, Should Have Let That Ball Fall, Skole, to toss a scoreless inning. It was not without dramatics though…

The Bananas countered with Alex, Nothing Wrong with Buzzing the Tower, Pierce, who tossed a scoreless top of the 5th.

Maxwell came back out for the bottom half and plunked Dan Oberst who stole 2nd and then scored on a sprint by Ryan, 3.2.2;6, Cox, to walk-off the inning and cut the Party Animals lead in half.

Mat, I Hate Double Plays, Wolf, plunked a man, got a fly out, and then induced a double play to his own dismay…

First off, that was an incredibly cool play. Secondly, Mat was so mad because he thought he ruined his wife’s chance to pitch, as Magean, Wait Who’s Watching Raleigh?Wolf, was supposed to come in with 2 outs in the inning. It would all end well though.

Adam, The Bald Beauties, Squared went to Justin, Where’s the Pirate?, DeGrandis, who promptly plunked Dalton, That’s How It Goes, Mauldin, in the dome. A batter later, Alex, Jebodiah, Ziegler, laced an inning walk-off single to bring in pinch runner Malachi, Deadshot HeadshotMitchell.

Just like that the game was locked at 2 points apiece. Mat Wolf came back out for the 7th inning and the leadoff man Lenny DiBenedetto reached on an error. Just like a when a Targaryen is born, when an error occurs there must always be a tremendous play made to balance it out. Enter Reece, ‘S Pieces, Hampton, who is always ready to be the man to make the spectacular happen…

Reece has been all over the field throughout the tour, playing some of the best centerfield I’ve gotten to see in my 2 plus years in Bananaland.

Unfortunately for Reece and his Nanners, the Party Animals caught fire lacing three doubles in a row off the bats of Dalton, No Veggies, No Problems, Cornett, Cos Cannella and Chris Kwitzer. After a pop fly for the second out of the inning, it was finally time for history to be made. Magean Wolf replaced her husband Mat on the mound, who in turn replaced Bill, Top Golf Superstar, LeRoy behind the plate. Breland singled and Jacob, The Refrigerator Business NEVER Slows Down, Teston worked a what, bringing up Zak Whalin…

Such a cool moment, and the crowd in Columbus went absolutely bonkers which made it all the more special.

Down four runs in the inning though, the Bananas were able to get one run in but nothing more as they dropped the game 3 points to 2…

The only thing from this ballgame that I could not find a natural spot for in the recap is Mat Wolf doing a sweet cartwheel pitch…

@thesavbananas

Never let them know your next move 😏 what do you wanna see us do next? 🤨 #savannahbananas #baseball #mlb #viral #fypシ #cartwheel

♬ original sound – Warren🖤

And if you still haven’t gotten your fill of highlights from Columbus, well take a minute out of your day for this video recap sauced up by the legendary Ivan, The State Capital Encyclopedia, Traczuk…

After a good night’s rest, the cast and crew of the Bananas show packed up and headed a couple hours northwest to Birmingham, Alabama. Once we reached our destination it was impossible not to feel the history and the powerful presence of all those who played in Rickwood Field before us…

Chills. Big time chills. Once the fans started lining up outside the park, the real party started to kickoff…

With this being the last game on the World Tour between the Party Animals and Bananas, things were bound to be tense on both sides, and nowhere was that more evident than what occurred during the pregame weigh-in…

When it came time for the two sides to do battle in the grueling game of Banana Ball, it was Kyle, This One’s for Grandma, Luigs, working a quick (2 minutes and 5 seconds) 1-2-3 top of the 1st.

Emmanuel, This Surprisingly Took a lot Longer, Rosario, gave up a leadoff single to Bill LeRoy, (who stole second), and then a walk/sprint to Reece Hampton to give the Bananas a 1-0 lead just like that.

Kyle worked a scoreless second and this time Manny was able to toss a zero on the board as well. Christian, Of Course My Stats Get Goofed Up at the End of the Tour, Dearman, came in and was given a rude welcome from Andrew Don who tripled to left-center. Two batters later Tanner, Get Out of the Boot, Thomas, lined a single to right to bring home Donny. Rosario secured a point for the Party Animals by setting the Bananas down in order, tying the game at a point each.

Dearman’s second inning ended up worse than his first, as he started it by nailing Cos and then giving up an inside the park home run to Chris Kwitzer. The Animals capitalized on two Bananas errors to add another run to the tally, and Josh, Adam Moreau’s Long Lost Brother, McAdams only allowed one run to come home, securing a second straight inning win for the boys in black and pink.

Luckily there was still plenty to celebrate for Bananas fans, as the 10,000 strong in attendance got to take part in the largest wave and Hey Baby in Bananas history…

It was an insane sight to see, especially from my vantage point in the broadcast booth right behind home plate. It really felt like you were a part of something tremendously special.

And then the icing on top: Oh well, just that Jake, Cy Young Award Winner & Two Time World Series Champion, Peavy took the mound for the Bananas in the top of the 5th. After striking out Tanner Thomas, Dalton Cornett snuck a grounder through the right side for a base hit. Then Peavy got King Leo to bounce one to 3rd in what looked like it was going to be a double play until the ball was fired into right field resulting in no outs being recorded. Cos Cannella then barreled a double on a hop off the left field wall to bring in Cornett and DiBenedetto. Jake got a flyout and pop up to get out of the inning and he got a resounding round of applause from the crowd.

The Bananas were able to scratch a run off against Lucas, I Just Beat Jake Peavy in an Inning, Kelley, but they dropped the inning 2-1 and fell behind in the game 3-1.

Bill Lee came in and was able to keep the damage to just run on a Whalin single, Don double, and Teston sac fly. In the bottom of the 6th the Nanners turned to their secret weapon off the bench to try and spark a rally…

Another impressive all-around performance from our Director of Entertainment, Zack, New Tat, Who Dis?, Frongillo. The Bananas followed Zack’s inning leadoff single with singles from LeRoy, Hampton, and Skole, and they won the inning 2-1 to cut the Party Animals lead down to 3-2.

The Animals kept the pressure on though, pushing two runs across on a Josh, These Sprints are Awesome, walk with the bases juiced. The Nanners were able to push two runs across of their own in the bottom half but with the inning winning run that would send the game to tiebreaker showdowns just 90 feet away, Sean, The Big Bender WILL Get You, Fluke, struck out Dalton Mauldin and manager/pinch hitter Eric Byrnes to clinch another 3-2 victory for the Party Animals.

The Bananas ended up 8-4 on the Tour, with the Party Animals of course going 4-8. Yet even as we shutdown this leg of the Tour and set our sights on Kansas City for the Challenger Series against the Monarchs, there was still one last thing for both teams to do together…

I’ll be submitting this for an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy, and somehow I’m gonna figure out how to make it into a play so I can try for a Tony too.

What a wild ride this has been my friends. The Party Animals and Bananas won’t face off again until August, as they will have to combine powers to try and take down the Kansas City Monarchs on May 6th and 7th in KC. Two more games before the 2022 World Tour truly shuts its doors. Thanks again for following along with us. I hope you all have had a fraction of the fun we’ve had putting this whole thing together. Bananas to the moon!

 

PS: Thank you to my dear friends Adam Moreau and Andrew Don for assisting me in nicknames for the first half of this story while on the bus ride back from Birmingham to Savannah. You’re both true mensch’s!