Caleb Bailey, Sports Editor
For years, Historic Grayson Stadium in Downtown Savannah was synonymous with having one of the oddest-named baseball teams in the country call it home. Just over a year ago, the Savannah Sand Gnats called for a new stadium to be built seeing as their home had been standing without significant upgrade for over a century.
When the Gnats, a Minor League affiliate team of the New York Mets, did not get their wish, they began looking elsewhere for a new home. They found it in Columbia, South Carolina, and following the 2015 season, they left to become known as the Columbia Fireflies.
This left a gaping void in the heart of Grayson Stadium as seemingly no new team would be playing on one of the oldest diamonds in the country. Grayson has seen the likes of both Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.
However, a shimmering yellow light came about just a week ago as the city of Savannah welcomed in a new team: the Savannah Bananas.
No, the Bananas are not the “new Sand Gnats” as many would be led to believe. However, they are a member of the 16-team invite-only collegiate baseball Coastal Plains League.
The name was chosen from a list of five finalists that also included the Anchors, Ports, Seagulls, and Party Animals. This list was narrowed down from one that was more than 1,000 options long.
As you would imagine, a name like “Bananas” which represents the city of Savannah as whole, likely would not be accepted immediately. However, one member of the Armstrong Pirates’ baseball team seems to believe that fans will be happy just to have baseball back.
“I think there are a lot of baseball fans in Savannah who will be thrilled that a team is occupying Grayson [Stadium], even if just for the summer,” senior Berry Aldridge said. “Savannah has a long history of hosting baseball and it was sad to think a year would go by without any team to call Savannah’s.”
Aldridge, who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Professional Communications and Leadership, hopes to obtain a career in the front office of a Major League Baseball team one day. He believes that the selection of the name has a lot to do with the team wanting to make baseball a fun fan experience for all.
“From what I have heard, the front office will focus hard on fan experience and making it a great summer for the community of Savannah,” Aldridge explained.
Baseball has been synonymous with the city of Savannah for a very long time and it certainly seems like the sport is not going anywhere, at least for the summer.