Written by Biko Skalla

 

WOW. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. That was two of the most incredible and exciting nights in the history of the Savannah Bananas. Daytona Beach, you outdid yourselves and we in Bananaland cannot thank you enough for the endless energy that you brought to Jackie Robinson Ballpark. It’s pretty mind boggling to all of us being outside of the friendly confines of Grayson Stadium and seeing so gosh darn much yellow in the stands. It’s both warms our hearts and fires us up beyond belief. So once again, thank you Bananas Nation for being the best fans in the world. Do you know how good it feels to call your fans the best fans in the world like nearly every team does, but to actually know that you have the best fans in the world? Our team and our show is nothing without you all, and you’ve rewarded our hard work with over 150 straight sellouts, most of which were at home in Grayson but now all four games we’ve played on the road have added to the tally too. That’s the best fans in the world right there. And we’re just getting started.

Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. You came here for a weekend recap, and when my fingers hit the keyboard I realized I couldn’t start said recap without a little reminder to all of you that you’re simply the best, but let’s get down, let’s get down to business (if you know, you know).

What better way for the boys to get ready to play in Daytona Beach than with an ole’ fashioned race…

Tanner’s golden mushroom shortcut was actually the most impressive moves I’ve ever seen pulled off in Mario Kart. You sauce me a golden mushroom on rainbow road and I’m flying off the edge every time. Dude got smoked by two blue shells and was still able to come away with the victory. Gotta tip your cap to an incredible driver living up to the legendary speedway he was playing Mario Kart about 500 feet from. Dearman, I bet you’ll win something sometime here man.

Remember when I said Bananas fans are the greatest fans in the world? Sure you do, it really wasn’t that long ago in the story. Here’s exhibit A:

Just absolutely absurd lines both nights for the opening of the gates. More on that later.

Exhibit B on the whole best fans ever thing I’ve got going here:

A+ Hey Babying from what I assume was a crowd chalk full of first-time Hey Babyers.

Of course it’s easy to forget sometimes with all the shenanigans surrounding our game that all these folks are here for Banana Ball. The Nanners took both games in Savannah last weekend, 3-2 in Tiebreaker Showdowns and then 4-2 at the end of the two-hour time limit. After a scoreless top of the 1st from The Living Legend himself, Kyle Luigs, his partner in crime, The Man Who Hops on the Backs of Wild Hogs, Bill LeRoy, led off the game with a steal of first base. ***RECORD SCRATCH*** “Well how the heck did he do that, Biko?!”

Well voice in my head, in Banana Ball you can steal first, and Bill got a wild pitch fired in from The Guardian of Giants, Matt Solter, and so Bill hopped on his horse and legged out a steal of first. Simple as that. (They do it in the Atlantic League too, and it counts as a hit there, but as the official scorer of Banana Ball I count it the same as a walk, so it boosts the OBP but not the AVG. Just feels right to me that way.)

Anyhow, Bill went and stole second too and then came in to score on an inning ending walk-off walk/sprint from The Quarter Century Man, Eric Jones. Both teams scored in the second to cancel each other out and then Kyle and fellow 2018 Banana, Garett, I Deserve Just as Much Credit for the Dirty Dancing Tik Tok as Bill and Kyle, Delano, traded scoreless 3rd and 4th innings.

The Quadralingualist, Josh Lavender, started the top of the 5th off with a double, swiped 3rd, and came in on an Andrew, Donny Banana Ball, Don, sac fly to right.

14-year MLB vet, Bill, The Spaceman, Lee, came in for the 6th and got a lineout but then gave up an infield single to Jacob, Grillzzz, Teston, who got to second on a throwing error. The Spaceman then got his first strikeout as a Banana, but with two down Mikey, Run Me My Ones T-Grey, Vivasis, smoked an RBI single to left. A flyout ended Bill’s second inning pitched in the World Tour and once again the ageless wonder didn’t allow any earned runs. David, I’m not a Wrestler I’m a Wrastler, Moore, threw a scoreless bottom half and just like that the Party Animals took a 2-1 lead in points.

With the time limit looming the 7th inning was going to be the last played so the Bananas needed to win the inning to push the game to showdowns. Eric, I was Running, Byrnes, turned to his ace in the arm barn, Matt, Every Batter’s a Split Batter for Me, Malatesta, and he promptly struck out the side. With one out in the bottom of the 7th Dakota, Just How I Drew it Up, McFadden, struck out swinging on a wild pitch but he was able to make it to first safely. Malachi, I’m Just Here to Swipe Bags Baby, Mitchell, got to second on a wild pitch and then came home for the inning’s walk-off run on a walk/sprint from Michael, We Should Play Every Banana Ball Game in the Jack, Deeb.

So with the game locked at 2 points a piece at the end of the 2-hour time limit we naturally went to Showdowns.

Malatesta, who got a strike out of Tanner, I Wish This Wasn’t How I Got Mentioned in the Story, Thomas, in the Showdown that ultimately decided the first game of the World Tour, went out there to try and repeat that excellent performance. The Prince of Pippa Passes, Dalton Cornett, had other plans though as he worked a walk and then Breland, The REAL Smoothie King, Almadova, smoked a ball to the outfield to bring in Cornett. The Bananas sent Reece, I was Built for This, Hampton, to the dish. Reece tattooed a ball to the wall and raced around the bases to score and keep the game alive.

Josh Lavender sent a ball to deep centerfield but Malachi Mitchell tracked it down, fired a terrific throw to his relay man Malatesta and Matt delivered the ball to Bill LeRoy at the dish just in time to nab Lavy. Jake, The Snake, Skole, lined a frozen rope straight into the thigh of the new Party Animals pitcher Justin, One-V-One Me in MLB the Show Bro, DeGrandis, who picked the ball up and met Jake just after he rounded 1st base.

So into a third and final round of Showdowns we went. If neither team could edge out the other in this round the game would be declared a tie. It was all on the line. Cos, The Yogi Berra of the Party Animals, Cannella, worked a walk but Malatesta was able to strikeout Sam, Not Slammin’ in This Instance, Claycamp, to strand Cos on 2nd and give the Bananas a chance for a walk-off win. Up to the dish walked Michael Deeb. The man who played two years of college ball in Jackie Robinson Ballpark when he was at Bethune-Cookman, smashed a ball to the left-centerfield gap, raced around the bases and gave his Bananas a 3-2 walk-off win.

After a raucous celebration on the field and an unbelievable after party with the cast and crew, I grabbed the game’s hero and had him draw his feelings…

Just always feels right to have the whiteboard on hand and Deeb did a magical job with the expo if I may say so myself.

Oh also of note, although neither of his hits contributed to any run scoring, I have to shoutout Alex, BeardyZig, Ziegler, who had an insanely impressive walkup to home plate and then went 2-2 on the night with a pair of absolute barrels…

Next level stuff, Alex!

Okay with night one in the books, let’s set our sights on Saturday.

I think we’re on Exhibit C of Banana fans being insane in all the best ways:

The line wrapped all the way around the entire outfield past foul territory down the left field line. Epic stuff.

To get the boys fired up, Dalton, I Can’t Believe My Moonshot Last Night Was Foul, Mauldin, put on a private concert…

Christian, You Can Call Me Celine for Short, Dearman, took the mound for the Bananas and Tanner Thomas greeted him with a line drive single to right but Christian had some help from his catcher Eric Jones to deal with that early threat…

Emanuel, This is Pitching Fast for Me, Rosario, returned the favor with a scoreless bottom of the 1st. In the top of the 2nd the Bananas defense was back at it again…

RIP to the start of Zak, The King of Doubles, Whalin’s swing, but the sweet relay is really what we’re here for anyways.

Dakota McFadden led off the bottom half of the inning with a single, was pinch run for by Malachi Mitchell, who of course immediately stole second, and then FlashThaKid came home to score on a Michael Deeb RBI single to walk-off the inning. Two straight walk-offs in two straight at-bats going back to his game winner from the night before. Not too bad at all.

The Party Animals immediately returned the favor though in the top of the 3rd as Tanner Thomas with two outs stole 1st and came in to score on a Garett Delano walk/sprint…

Rosario was able to set the Nanners down 1-2-3 to secure a Party Animals point and lock the game at one point for each side.

Oh, this is out of order but whatever we do what we want here in the weekend recap and right now I want to show you why Dearman was pitching without a shirt…

Take that Liberty!!! How about you go to school that doesn’t have a 9:00pm curfew, aye?! Stay off our turf, WE RUN BASEBALL SOCIAL MEDIA, NOT YOU!!!!

Woah woah woah, I’m sorry I don’t know where that came from at all. Liberty you did an amazing job with your video, we’re proud of you, and we thank you for giving us the inspiration for this spinoff. Sheesh Biko reel it in man.

Okay, so Dearman gets a 1-2-3 top of the 4th (and he did it in 2:25 seconds, the quickest MPI of the weekend). In comes Sean, THE EXTERMINATOR, Fluke, for the bottom of the 4th and he sets the Bananas down in order as well. Dearman tossed a scoreless top of the 5th and in the bottom half Jake Skole walked (sprinted) his way to second and gosh darn it if Michael Deeb didn’t do it again. Three straight walk-offs for the kid! Make it 2-1 Bananas after 5.

But this is where the tide turned on the Bananas. The Party Animals pushed a run across against Bill Lee in the 6th on a Josh Lavender triple and then a Cos Cannella RBI single. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Eamonn Collins came in and survived a spicy bottom of the 6th to even the game back up at 2 points apiece.

The Party Animals then pushed two runs across in the 7th on a Breland Almadova hit-by-pitch, who came in on a Sam Claycamp walk/sprint, and then Sammy came in on a Tanner Thomas RBI single. The Bananas snagged an unearned run off Eamonn in the bottom half but lost the inning 2-1, and fell behind in the game for the first time 3-2.

The Party Animals were back at it again with an RBI walk/sprint from Dalton Cornett that brought home Josh Lavender in the top of the 8th, setting the Bananas up for a half inning where they needed to score twice or they would lose the game because we were at the end of the 2-hour time limit. Out came Lucas, The Consummate Party Animal,  Kelley, and he got a 1-2-3 inning to secure the first victory of the World Tour for the boys in black and pink.

After the game I caught up with Breland Almadova to find out how his night went and things got a little saucy…

Breland knocked it out of the park with that sweet Hawaiian smooth talking, and Brian our Sexy Saxman is just a straight up superstar.

Andddd that about wraps up our weekend in Daytona Beach! Once again, a heartfelt thank you to all the fans who came and absolutely rocked out worlds. That was really, really, really fun. We should do it again next year!

The Bananas and Party Animals head to Montgomery, Alabama, this weekend for games 5 and 6 of the World Tour. Pregame will start at 6:00pm on YouTube and the NoFilter Network for both games. The Bananas lead the Tour three games to one but they’ve taken two of the victories in Tiebreaker Showdowns, so a couple balls bounce a couple different ways and this series could be in a whole different state today. All I know is I can’t wait to see what happens next!

For more information on the World Tour visit: thesavannahbananas.com/worldtour/