Baseball purists will look at all this and cringe.
Those who are anything but baseball purists will nod with approval and line up at the ticket booth.
But whatever the viewpoint, there can’t be much of an argument that this type of baseball is bananas.
The Savannah Bananas, a baseball organization located in Savannah, Georgia, has come up with some unusual alterations to the game in an effort to entertain fans.
Bunting or walks? Nope, they’re not allowed.
Mound visits being prohibited? Yep, that’s the case.
Fouls ball that can be caught by fans for outs? Believe or not, yes, that is a rule.
Those are a part of the team’s nine “Banana Ball” rules, which are, as follows, in order:
1.) Every inning counts. The team that scores the most runs in an inning gets a point. The first team to five points wins.
2.) A time limit of two hours. No inning starts after the game gets to be two hours old. There’s a tiebreaker format if a game is tied when the limit is up (see below.)
3.) No stepping out of the batter’s box. If a batter steps away from the box at any point, it’s a strike.
4.) No bunting.
5.) Batters can steal first. If there’s a wild pitch or a passed ball during any pitch of an at-bat, the batter can go to first.
6.) No walks. If a pitcher throws a fourth ball, the batter takes off toward first base in a sprint. The catcher then has to throw the ball around to every defensive player on the field before it becomes live. The hitter is allowed to advance to as many bases as possible before the ball becomes live. The ball doesn’t have to touch the pitcher or catcher.
7.) A one-on-one showdown tiebreaker. If a game is tied when the time is up, each team picks a pitcher and a hitter to face off, with the defensive team only having a catcher and pitcher in the field. If a hitter puts it in play, he has to make it home to get a point before the pitcher gets the ball and throws it to the catcher. If a pitcher gets a strikeout or throws the runner out before scoring, there’s no point for the hitting team. The first team to prevent the other from scoring wins.
8.) No mound visits from any coaches or players.
9.) If a fan catches a foul ball, it’s an out. Bring your glove!
The Bananas compete in the Coastal Plain League, a wood-bat summer league featuring college players who don’t get paid, but have the chance to showcase their skills in front of professional scouts, albeit under the premise of knowing they are signing up for a different brand of baseball.
Owner Jesse Cole, who dresses in a yellow tuxedo for every game, told the Wall Street Journal the rules and other in-game activities — such as dancing coaches and players, coaches who are dressed in costumes, senior-citizen cheerleaders and sometimes playing games in kilts — is a way to help liven up the sport.
“We’re not for traditional baseball fans,” Cole told the Wall Street Journal. “We’re for a younger fan base that wants to come out and have fun and enjoy the games. Fans have not left early. They’ve stayed to the end.”
There are fans who have caught on so much that they keep sending Cole ideas for new rules, according to the Wall Street Journal article.
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