Rudy Amaya has been to Grayson Stadium plenty of times. He even played there a few times as a Calvary Day standout.
But Monday night was special for the Savannah native.
"It's surreal," he says.
Amaya will play for his hometown Bananas this summer as a right handed pitcher. He got his first taste of being a Banana at Monday's Fan Fest.
There he spent most of his evening signing just about anything a kid requested: bats, balls, even sheets of paper. Most of the autographs came with an extra promise.
"If you come to a game and I'm here, look for number three and find me a sharpie or something, and I'll sign whatever you want," Amaya tells them.
The newest Banana knows what it's like to look up to the players on the Grayson Stadium field. Being on the field Monday brought back memories of being with friends on the other side of the netting years ago.
"We were literally standing right outside that gate," he remembers. "I said we're going to play on that field one day."
Amaya just completed his freshman season with the ABAC Stallions. The righty went 3-2 with eight saves and a 2.83 ERA in 24 appearances. But he's kept his eye on the team that has become a phenomenon in his hometown.
"At first, I thought this team was absolutely nuts," he laughs. "But I loved it at the same time."
Many of the 2018 Bananas figured out exactly what kind of support they'd be getting this summer Monday night. Amaya knew, but says even he was floored at what the reality of being a Banana is.
"It's absolutely amazing what's come to Savannah," he says. "Seeing all these people out here, seeing all these kids makes it worthwhile. It really does."
Amaya and the Bananas take the field for the first time Thursday night when they host the Macon Bacon at historic Grayson Stadium. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.