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12,000 Fresno Baseball Fans Go Bananas for Savannah

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There was lots of dancing and singing in downtown Fresno on Thursday night.

That’s because the entertainment-oriented Savannah Bananas baseball team entertained a full house of 12,000 fans at Chukchansi Park.

A pre-game contest saw fans toss bananas from the upper deck onto the field, where two men tried to catch them in oversized pants. There were sing-offs, dance-offs, and even a weigh-in.

Now Fresno knows why the Bananas bill themselves as a “World Famous Baseball Circus.”

While it is easy to compare the Bananas to the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, several players said the game played between the lines is legitimate. The rosters of the Bananas and their tour opponent consist of players who made it to the college level, and some beyond into pro ball.

There is plenty of silliness. Everything is celebrated — hits, runs, strikeouts — with a dance routine. Uniform accessories — such as one player wearing overalls — are encouraged.

Fans buy Savannah Bananas merchandise at Chukchansi Park on July 27, 2023. (GV Wire/David Taub)

The Players Play, and Dance

Dakota Albritton of the Bananas plays on stilts, making his height 10’9″. Even with that expanded strike zone, he drew a walk.

Former MLB pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee is on the roster, but he didn’t pitch in Fresno. At 76, the three-time 17-game winner with the Boston Red Sox brags how he can still get hitters out.

Eric Byrnes, the eccentric former 11-year MLB vet who once stole 50 bases in a season, took an at-bat — a break from his broadcast duties. He got on base with a hit, while wearing shorts and a sports coat. He was also wearing a live microphone at the time.

Umpire Vincent Chapman is featured in several viral videos, showing his dance moves after strikeouts — Enrico Pallazzo is an inspiration. He umpired at first base in Fresno, dancing between pitches. The Texarkana, Texas native has umpired for 25 years.

The game may not be for the baseball purist, but the fans in Fresno certainly enjoyed it.

10’9″ Dakota Albritton drew a walk while batting in Fresno on July 27, 2023. (GV Wire/David Taub)

 

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email