The Savannah Bananas, a popular exhibition baseball squad from Georgia, features star players such as Bill Leory, Ryan Cox and Mat Wolf. Each member of the roster is proudly displayed in photographs, a testament to the team’s proud heritage.
Established in 2016, the Bananas have made Grayson Stadium their home ground. It was after 2022 that they evolved into an exhibition team, following the rise in popularity of their unique format, Banana Ball.
Previously, the Bananas were fierce competitors in the Coastal Plain League’s West Division. During their time in this league, they clinched the prestigious Petitt Cup Championships on three occasions. Notably, they achieved this feat in both their debut and their final season.
In terms of fame, the Bananas have outdone even major league teams. Their TikTok account boasts a staggering six million followers.
During their debut season, they played 25 games in front of an accumulated audience of over 80,000 fans. Such popularity is not common among collegiate teams, making the Bananas a truly unique entity in the baseball world.
Players Savannah Bananas 2023
In 2023, the team lineup of Savannah Bananas boasts athletes such as Malachi Mitchell, Michael Deeb, and Jackson Olson, amongst 24 total members.
These players originate from a range of academic institutions, and some even boast experience from NCAA divisions.
This is a list showing every player in the team and what position they play:
- Dr Meadows – OF/INF
- Ryan Cox – INF
- Jared Donalson – RHP
- Dakota McFadden – UTIL/RHP
- Christian Dearman – RHP
- Johnny Anderson – LHP
- Michael Deeb – OF/1B
- Dalton Mauldin – INF
- Dakota Albritton – RHP/UTIL
- Bill Leroy – C/3B
- Eric Jones Jr. – C/INF
- Mat Wolf – RHP/INF
- Danny Hosley – Everywhere
- Jackson Olson – INF
- Malachi Mitchell – PR/OF
- Noah Bridges -OF
- Alex Ziegler – EH
- Matt Malatesta – RHP
- Kyle Luigs – RHP
- Dan Oberst – 1B
- Connor Higgins – LHP
- Bill Lee – LHP
- Vincent Derubeis – UTIL
- DJ “The Invader” – RHP
The Savannah Bananas recently had Meadows, Jones, Deeb, Oberst, McFadden, Olson, Cox, Leroy, Hosley, Bridges, and Luigs kick off their latest match. It’s common for this lineup to grace the field at the start of the games.
Among these athletes, Leroy is a standout player. Hailing from the University of North Georgia, he serves as the team’s catcher. His fame is rooted in his strong batting skills, and his signature bat flips never fail to impress.
In the year 2021, Bill received an accolade as part of the All-CPL second team. This esteemed acknowledgement was a result of his outstanding guidance in leading Savannah to victory in the Petit Cup Championship.
Moving to the 2023 roster of the Savannah Bananas, we see Eric Jones holding the position of another key catcher. A North Carolina native, Jones is remarkable for his ambidextrous hitting skills and perfect rapport with the pitchers.
On the flip side, Luigs, a right-handed pitcher from Georgia Southern University, is well-respected for his craft. His arsenal includes a keen slider, a deceptive changeup, and a fastball capable of reaching up to 95 miles per hour.
Coaches Savannah Bananas 2023
The coaching team of the Savannah Bananas comprises Tyler Gillum, Eric Byrnes, and Adam Virant. Gillum, having a five-year stint with the team, has successfully led them to win the Petit Cup Championships twice.
As the 2022 season concluded, Gillum committed to a year-round position as the head coach for the Banana Ball World Tour team.
Beyond coaching, he also made notable contributions to player development and recruitment efforts for Banana Ball. Gillum, a recipient of the CPL Coach of the Year award twice, continues to build the team’s success.
Below is the list of the team’s coaching staff:
- Tyler Gillum holds the position of Chief Coach.
- Eric Byrnes and Adam Virant serve as Coaches.
- Berry Aldridge is the Coordinator for Banana Ball Operations.
- Kyle Luigs and Bill Leroy are both Premier Team Players as well as Instructors at the Banana Academy.
Byrnes stands out as an incredibly dynamic coach, known worldwide for his boundless energy that he pours into the team. Together with Gillum, he forms a dynamic pair. The duo now welcomes Virant, making them an exciting trio.
Virant’s experience is extensive. He has been an assistant coach for both the Bananas and the Party Animals, navigating the Banana Ball matchups from both perspectives.
Prior to his full-time commitment to the Bananas, Virant was part of New York City’s leading youth sports program, the Bulldog Ball Club.
Both Gillum and Virant share a mission to help the team’s players grow their skills, both in baseball and in entertainment. Byrnes complements their work with his high-level experience and ceaseless enthusiasm.
Additionally, Adam is the backbone of logistics and serves as the right-hand man to the operations coordinator, Berry Aldridge. Aldridge, a proud graduate of Armstrong State Universityberry, handles all aspects of the team’s baseball operations.
Lastly, Luigs and Leroy wear multiple hats on the team. Not only are they players, but they also serve as instructors, providing valuable guidance to their teammates.
Cheerleaders Savannah Bananas
The Banana Nanas are much more than just cheerleaders for the Savannah Bananas. This unique group of senior women bring their energy to every home game with lively performances.
Far from the ordinary, the Nanas sport yellow tutus, banana-themed earrings, and sunglasses to complement their upbeat routines.
The soundtrack to their choreography features well-known songs such as “I’m a Believer” by Smash Mouth, Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song,” and “Hey Ya!” by Outkast.
These dynamic women add a layer of entertainment and charm to the Savannah Bananas games with their spirited displays.
The Banana Nanas, a unique dance group, delight spectators with their energetic performances. They engage with spectators, hold contests and games on the field, and toss T-shirts to the excited crowd. Their mascot is the charming Nana Split, a huge banana sporting glasses and a wig.
The dance crew, under the guidance of their leader Karen Olenick, is an eclectic mix of individuals from various professions and of different ages. Karen trains them, ensuring they’re ready with their dance routines before the game commences.
The first base coach of the team, Maceo, impresses everyone with his acrobatic prowess from the coaches’ box. Meanwhile, the Banana Nanas wow the audience with their dancing skills on the field.
The Banana Nanas have not only charmed the locals in Savannah but have also gained national recognition.
Their fame has led to features in renowned platforms like ESPN Sports, Sports Illustrated, and The Wall Street Journal.
Furthermore, the Banana Nanas ensemble includes a squad of middle-aged men called the “Man Nanas”, who despite not being in the best shape, display great spirit and enthusiasm.
The team players frequently join in, performing choreographed dance moves with both cheerleading squads. This collective energy makes the Banana Nanas an unforgettable spectacle.
How Much Do Savannah Bananas Players Get Paid?
The Savannah Bananas have a typical earning of around $200,000 per domestic match during the season in their league. Additional income flows in from their exhibition games of Banana Ball.
In a surprising move, the team chose to step away from the 2023 Coastal Plain League. Instead, they opted for a sweeping exhibition tour consisting of seventy games.
This ongoing tour takes them across a vast geographical spread, covering thirty-three cities within twenty-two U.S. states.
Though it’s hard to determine the exact figures, it’s safe to say they earn a reasonable sum. The earnings from the CPL may not be significant, given that even minor leagues don’t pay well.
However, participating in various Banana Ball exhibition games provides them with a substantial income.
Nashville Tickets and Rest Of The Tour Savannah Bananas
The Savannah Bananas are playing in Tulsa, with ticket prices starting at just $140.00 on Vivid Seats. Children under three can enter for free, as long as they don’t require an extra seat.
For the team’s Coastal Plain League matches, tickets have historically been quite affordable. Back in the early days, tickets started at a mere $20, which even included food like burgers, hot dogs, and drinks.
On CloseSeats, the ticket prices for the Bananas’ game in Nashville begin at $168. However, if you prefer VividSeats, you can find tickets there for an average price of $276.
The upcoming game is a unique match of Banana Ball against the Party Animals, a part of their exhilarating Banana Ball World Tour.
The team’s next exciting event will be held at Frist Horizon Park in Nashville, on the 2nd of June, 2023.
No more tickets are available for the upcoming events, as they’re all sold out. You could have purchased the tickets either directly from the official website of the team in the Ticket section or through Ticketmaster.
As part of their World Tour, the Savannah Bananas orchestrated events in three cities in May – Kansas, Oklahoma, and Las Vegas.
They didn’t stop there; they also took their tour to several other cities including Scottsdale, Peoria, Charleston, Tampa, Jacksonville, Montgomery, and Sugar Land.
Below is the schedule of the upcoming tour for The Bananas:
- June 2 and 3: The event will take place in Nashville, Tennessee at the First Horizon Park.
- June 8, 9, 10, 12, 15, 17, and 19: The venue for these dates is the Grayson Stadium, located in Savannah, Georgia.
- June 23: The event will be held at the Regions Field in Birmingham, Alabama.
- June 24: This day, the event is scheduled at the Rickwood Field, also in Birmingham, Alabama.
- June 29: The last event of the month will occur at the Victory Field in Indianapolis, Indiana.