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Lost in the Stacks: Banana Ball

It’s bananas! It’s baseball! It’s both when the Savannah Bananas play banana ball, a fast-paced, wildly entertaining form of baseball with its own set of rules. Fan catches a foul ball? It’s an out! Feel like stealing first? Go ahead! Flaming bats, twerking pitchers, players on stilts – it’s fun, it’s zany, it really is bananas! In Banana Ball, Savannah Bananas owner Jesse Cole talks about his epiphany as a college baseball coach that often baseball games were slow and *gasp* boring. Later, as the general manager for the Gastonia Grizzlies, a collegiate summer baseball team, Cole learned the art of promotion and the value of entertaining fans.

When an opportunity arrived to own a new team, Cole knew to be successful the game couldn’t be slow, it couldn’t be boring. It was time to make baseball fun again. Adopting "Fans first. Entertain always." as their mantra, Cole and his team looked at every friction point, everything fans hated, and changed it. From ticket fees, to the website, to concessions, Cole and his team worked tirelessly to improve the fan experience. Then they took it a gigantic step further and did something truly novel – they changed the rules of baseball. No bunts, no visits to the pitcher’s mound, no walks, no stepping away from the batter’s box, everything that slowed down the game was out.

Much like the game itself, Banana Ball is a fast-paced, entertaining read. As fun as this book is for sports fans, businesses and organizations might also benefit from the Bananas customer-centric focus.

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