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Even if you love the game, you have to admit: baseball can be boring. BananaBall never gets boring. Inbanana country, a new five-episode documentary series debuting on ESPN andESPN+This week we take a behind-the-scenes look at the Savannah Bananas, a baseball team trying to turn the national pastime into a non-stop entertainment extravaganza. From field dancing to stunt pitches to complete rule book rewrites, there's nothing the Bananas wouldn't do to entertain their fans and spread the gospel of baseball to new generations.
BANAN EN LANDIA: STREAM OR SKIP?
opening shot:A man dressed head to toe in yellow (yellow suit, yellow dress shirt, yellow bowler hat) opens the game at a minor league stadium and takes the field with a dreamy expression on his face. It's Jesse Cole, the co-owner and mastermind of Savannah Bananas, and he seems like a man with a plan. "This is a love story at its core," he says as pictures of him greet fans and enjoy the live game action, "Love for the fans, love for the game. I'm still just a kid trying to make my dad proud."
essence:In 2015, the Savannah, Georgia minor league baseball team, the single-A-Savannah Sand Gnats, left town, relocated to Columbia, South Carolina, and left Savannah's Grayson Stadium without a tenant. Jesse and Emily Cole had an idea to fill it. They founded the Savannah Bananas, a high school summer league team, and are committed to making games fun for everyone, with non-stop entertainment on and off the field. They were very successful and the Bananas sold out every game they played in Savannahbanana countrycaptures them just as they are about to take their special brand of baseball with them on the trip.
What shows will this remind you of?Despite being a documentary, it has the spirit of some of the best baseball movies out there. Scenes of a bunch of adorable weirdos getting together, remembermajor leaguejTour Durham, or maybe even non-baseball comedies likeOld school.
Our opinion:Jesse Cole has a dream and if you take the time to listen to him you will believe him. The co-owner of the Savannah Bananas has a long history in baseball; He played baseball in high school and college and dreamed of making it to the major leagues until a shoulder injury in his senior year ended his big league aspirations. At age 23, he became general manager of the Gastonia Grizzlies, a collegiate summer baseball team that he described upon arrival as "the worst team in professional baseball". During his ten years there, he worked tirelessly to make the team more entertaining, realizing that "we're not in the baseball business, we're in the entertainment business," drawing on idols like "Walt Disney, P.T. Barnum and Bill Veeck.
When Savannah Stadium opened in 2016, Jesse and Emily Cole saw an opportunity to take their vision to the next level. They formed a new team that would soon be known as Savannah Bananas and nearly went bankrupt in the process, borrowing over a million dollars and overdrafting their bank accounts before selling their home to fund their dream of a team.
His vision worked.
The Savannah Bananas have sold out every home game they've ever played and have a waiting list of thousands waiting to get in. Constantly choreographed entertainment, dancing players and endless promotions are designed to make the fan experience special.
But even that didn't lead to the dream.
In 2022, the Coles decided to take the Bananas show on tour, bringing together two professional touring teams, the Bananas and their rivals, the Party Animals, for a stormy season reminiscent of the Harlem Globetrotters and Washington Generals. These games would be played under a new set of rules known as "BananaBall". These rules, intended to further speed up play and increase excitement, include provisions such as "no bunts", "walks are now sprints", "foul-take-free kicks resolved" and 1-1 tiebreaks, hitters and pitchers. All of this would have a time limit of two hours, although the first game played under the rules was "nine innings in ninety-nine minutes".
The reunion of these street teams takes up the second half of the first episode and is a team-writing montage worthy of the Major League. A mix of young and old gamers, some waiting for their big break, others looking for one last chance to play the game they love, come together to hone their skills not only as gamers but as artists as well to demonstrate. This is a baseball club, but it's also a traveling circus, and the Bananas' try-everything spirit is evident when they also invite former Red Sox pitcher Bill "Spaceman" Lee, 75, over for a tryout. .
banana countryIt might be the most fun I've had lately watching anything sports related; The characters are hilarious, the quest is infectious, and the whole adventure is awesome. Jesse Cole talks about expanding his BananaBall vision to something that could fill major league stadiums; As unlikely as it sounds, it's hard to believe he can do it.
gender and skin:A few shirtless players and a guy pitching in his underwear but nothing but PG. This is family entertainment!
farewell shot:The Bananas held their roadshow tryouts and selected 40 players to complete the rosters for the Bananas and their rivals, the Party Animals. Coach Eric Byrnes keeps the players encouraged: They were hired to have fun and entertain, but they have a job to do. The season is about to start and you will be excited to see what happens in the next episode.
Sleeping Star:Virtually everyone on screen in the first episode is an A-list character with a capital C, but perhaps none more so than the Bananas' manager, ten-year MLB veteran Eric Byrnes, who poses like a guru, a maniacal dirty preacher, gives. -Energy Barker Slash Carnival. He's the perfect person to lead this team of fools. However, his star power is surpassed by new pitcher Mat Wolf, a 34-year-old firefighter and "fifth generation" rodeo clown, who dazzles with a variety of behind-throwing and between-the-legs tricks.
Most of the Pilot-y line:"We want the most talented players, but we also want the funniest players," explains a board official during his probationary period. "If we have a really good bowler but he's not interested in getting in a little bit or salsa dancing in the batter's box, we're not interested."
Will you stream lots of fun or skip?#bananenlandiaem@espnj@ESPNPlus?#SIOSI
— Decider (@decider)20. August 2022
Our appeal:TRANSFER IT. The very first episode made me plan a trip to Savannah next summer. BananaBall looks great in person andbanana countryit is pure joy.
ScottHin is an Architect, Blogger, and Internet savvy user from Louisville, Kentucky who publishes BelovedAction Cookbook Bulletin.
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