SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It was certainly out-of-the-box, which made it perfectly Bananas.
The CPL All-Star Showdown had a very Savannah Bananas feel to it this weekend at historic Grayson Stadium, as the team provided a new twist to the traditional All-Star Game.
Instead of two teams made up of All-Stars from each league, the Showdown featured six teams playing in a tournament. The six teams consisted of a squad for each of the CPL’s four divisions, a fan voted team, and Team Savannah made up of Banana players and members of the community.
“You don’t just have to do what’s always been done,” says team president Jared Orton. “It changes it up for the fans. It changes it up for the players as well. I think it just refreshes it for everybody.”
Instead of five full-length games, each contest was three innings long. The goal was to keep the pace moving quickly, something fans noticed.
“It’s been a lot of fun," says Bananas fan Neil Moore. "It keeps everything moving really fast, and it’s been fun to watch.”
“I think it’s alright for something like this,” says fan Charles Yarber. “I think it offers the opportunity for more players to play, so that’s more fun for the fans.”
Even the players said the quickened pace helped create an “electric” atmosphere on the field.
“You kind of just let out all your energy in one inning,” says Florence RedWolves pitcher Connor Holden. “I know for the hitters it’s hard to get in rhythm, but I liked it.”
“You only get one guaranteed at-bat, so you have to just let it loose,” noted Bananas third baseman Gabe Howell. “You have to get your swing on.”
Orton admits he’s not sure what the future holds for this format in the CPL, but he’s hopeful to see it continue in this league and maybe inspire the big leagues.
“[The MLB All-Star Game] will probably take four hours, and this one is going to go, go, go,” Orton says. “What we’re trying to show people is you have to do things dramatically different and you have to challenge the way things have always been done.”