PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Mosley alum and Gulf Coast State College pitcher Brayden Gainey spent the past two weeks playing and entertaining with the Savannah Bananas baseball team.
The Bananas are part of the Coastal Plain League, and the team is comprised of college baseball players specifically selected to play for the team whose main focus in entertaining their fans.
“You want everybody there to have a good experience with baseball,” Gainey said. “Because baseball has kind of taken a back route and its got really boring lately so that’s their goal is to be the most fun outrageous team in college sports”
Fan interaction is the name of the game for the Bananas, but what makes their team even more unique, is that they have to still play top level baseball.
“Its a big saying we have, its called flip the switch,” Gainey said. “So you have to be able to like flip that switch from like dancing with fans and doing that to having to right back out to the next inning”
The Bananas are one of the hottest tickets in the country, as they sell out the majority of their games each summer, and many people will even brave bad weather to see the team in yellow play.
“Rained out games, no fans are there,” Gainey said. “But in Savannah, out of the 5,000 people that are there, there was probably 4,000 that stayed at the game when it was pouring down rain so it was just a great time and it was probably one of the most fun times I’ve ever had on a baseball field.”
Baseball viewership ratings have continued to trend downward for the past few decades, but Gainey says Savannahs entertainment format could influence the sports future.
“Every other sport, football there is celebrations, basketball celebrations, baseball is really the only one that just started celebrating and everybody wants to see someone hit a 400 foot homerun and bat flip it and get a strikeout and go crazy and you know its great for the game”
After playing with the Bananas this summer, he says other baseball teams would benefit from mirroring what they do.
“If its making the ratings go up and people are liking the game I mean this was Americas past time and I think the more we can do to spread the game and the love of it we should”
Gainey has completed his time playing with Savannah this summer and is preparing for his next chapter playing baseball at the University of Alabama this summer.