BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s a baseball ‘bananza’ in Buffalo. The social media famous Savannah Bananas baseball team are stopping in Buffalo on their world tour next summer.
The games are expected to bring a bunch of fans to Sahlen Field July 5-7, 2024. This follows the annual Independence Day celebration with fireworks and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which is slated for July 3, 2024.
“It makes for a marquee week, week and a half to be downtown and to be at the ballpark,” Bisons Assistant General Manager Brad Bisbing told News 4.
The team will have a nine game homstand in July, ending with the game on July 3. Then, ‘banana-monium’ will take over.
“We have the Fourth to catch our breath a little bit and then head right back to the ballpark for the Bananas for three straight games Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” Bisbing added.
The Savannah Bananas World Tour visits a variety of cities every year. The 2024 season includes stops at Boston’s Fenway Park and Minute Maid Park in Houston.
The Bananas face off mostly against the Party Animals. The Firefighters are the latest team to join the tour.
The team plays a different style of baseball. Basically, think of them as baseball’s version of the Harlem Globetrotters.
“It was the idea of looking at every slow, boring, friction point of a baseball game and doing the exact opposite,” Jesse Cole, founder and owner of the Savannah Bananas, said in an interview with CBS News.
The rules are a bit different than regular baseball with lots of in-game, side splitting stunts, dancing, and other performances. The game rules are a departure from the norm and the scoring includes runs and points.
- Win the Inning, Get a Point: Every inning is worth one point. The team with the most runs in an inning, gets a point. In the last inning, there are no points and every run counts.
- Two Hour Time Limit: Games are timed and no new inning can start after one hour and 50 minutes.
- No Stepping Out: The batter can’t step out of the box, or it is a strike.
- No Bunting: If a batter bunts, they are automatically ejected.
- Batters Can Steal First: On any pitch during an at-bat, the hitter can try to steal first.
- No Walks: If the pitcher throws ball four, the hitter can run while every field player, aside from the pitcher and catcher, must touch the ball before it becomes live. The hitter can advance to as many bases as they can. This creates a mad scramble.
- No Mound Visits: To keep the game moving, there are no pitchers mound visits by any coach or player.
- If a Fan Catches a Foul Ball, It’s an Out: Fans can get in on the action too! If they catch a foul ball by either team, it is an out.
There are also tiebreaker rules, challenge rules and the ‘Golden Batter Rule’. For more on those, visit the Bananas’ website.
“One of my favorite rules is if a guy hits a foul ball in foul territory and a fan catches it, he’s out. Just like a fielder catches it, so the fans will be able to be right there being able to make a put out,” Bisbing explained.
Fans were going bananas on social media when the schedule dropped. To get tickets, you’ll have to enter a lottery by December 1. If you are selected, you can buy up to four seats. Bisons season ticket holders will have a separate lottery.
The Bisons say they fit right in the bunch with the Savannah Bananas, combining baseball with entertainment.
“It’s fun and entertaining and obviously, that’s something that we pride ourselves at the ballpark with the Bisons experience as well with all the entertainment elements on top of a great baseball game. The brands are kind of a perfect match for each other, so it’s good to have them here at Sahlen Field come July,” Bisbing added.
To enter the ticket lottery, visit the Bisons website.
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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.