Publication Date: May 16, 2023
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A love letter to baseball, to readers of THE BASEBALL 100 and Ed Catmull’s Pixar memoir CREATIVITY INC, and to all fans who are bananas for baseball.
The first trade book by Jesse Cole, the owner/innovator behind the Savannah, GA Bananas, a sub-minors professional team with a social media following bigger than the Yankees and Mets combined!
2.8 million TikTok followers. 610k Instagram followers. Not only are these numbers more than any MAJOR-league team’s, it is all organic and all because of one thing: the Bananas make baseball fun.
They throw out a first banana rather than a ball. Their first-base coach does Thriller dance moves between innings. Players run into the crowd to hand out roses. The team sings Stand by Me after every game. The $20 ticket is food all-inclusive! And they hold exhibition games where the rules are bananas: if a fan catches a foul ball it’s an out, and players go to bat on stilts, or wearing a banana uniform. They have two cheer squads: the “dancing Nanas” (age 70+) and the Man-ananas, all Dad Bods. They have a 20k+ waiting list for tickets (every game is sold out). And they put on their show with a cast of 110 (the Harlem Globetrotters use 30).
Jesse Cole is their beating heart. Growing up with divorced parents, he clung to playing catch with his dad every night, an 8-year-old with dreams of pitching at Fenway. His dad helped him become a college star (when he pitched at Fenway!) and a pro-prospect before injury derailed Jesse’s hopes of ever playing professionally. But now he’s involved with professional baseball in ways he never could have imagined: he met the love of his life at a game, he calls his dad from the outfield after each Bananas game, and now he hopes to bring the Bananas to fill Fenway Park in 3 years—his next big goal. This is his story, of baseball, love, leadership, and going just a bit bananas for all.
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