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In front of sellout crowds, Savannah Bananas leave lasting impression in Columbus debut

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Over Memorial Day weekend, the baseball team that became a viral sensation made their long-awaited debut in Columbus. The Savannah Bananas were the hottest ticket in town and created long-lasting memories at Huntington Park.

In a city where a sea of yellow is normally reserved for the Columbus Crew, the sellout crowds filled the seats and concourses for a game unlike any other.

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“It was awesome. Ohio brought the energy. The city is amazing. You know it’s the capital of Ohio and we’re right in the city so it was really cool,” Bananas outfielder Brandon Crosby said. “You just feed off of everybody’s energy. Everybody is so excited to be here. They’re expecting a lot of good things out of us and we just want to put on a good show.”

For three days, crowds came to see the team that’s rose to fame thanks to social media. Often referred to as the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball, the Bananas are on a 29-city tour spanning 20 states across the country. Enthusiasm was so high in Columbus that tickets sold out within hours of becoming available.

“What used to be nerves back in the day is now just excitement. Hearing their excitement, to watch us perform on the field just makes us want to perform better and do a good job in front of them,” Bananas catcher Bill LeRoy said.

The players don’t just show up to the field. They put in plenty of practice and not just for the competitive baseball but for the entire fan experience.

“There’s a lot of rehearsal. There’s a lot of practice. Trick plays and a lot of microphone work,” LeRoy said. “Everything that we do has been rehearsed and practiced a ton of times to try and make it perfect so the crowd enjoys it and it gets the reactions that we want.”

What began as a way to have fun on a summer baseball team in 2020 continues to grow into a phenomenon with every game.

“Each and every weekend we try to do something that’s never been seen on a ball field before,” LeRoy said. “People want to see that. They want to see the crazy. The cool plays. The crazy things that we do on a baseball field that nobody has ever done before.”

And for players who never thought this would be their future in baseball.

“It’s amazing. It’s like being a little kid again,” Crosby said. “I feel like I’m five years old but this is my job. So it’s amazing.”

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