SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Just two-and-a-half weeks until the Savannah Bananas kick off their 2020 campaign.
A quiet morning at Historic Grayson Stadium as the crew responsible for keeping the field in playing shape is preparing for when Savannah goes Bananas once again.
“They repair the batters area, the pitchers mound, they do repairs to both bullpens, we mow the infield and outfield," said Kelly Ledbetter, the Director of Recreation and Leisure Services for the City of Savannah. "Our crews are really the behind-the-scenes wizards in what they do.”
It’s a small crew that puts in 8 hours a day year-round getting the stadium in tip-top shape. Even team-owner Jesse Cole’s son, Maverick, is chomping at the bit, helping get Grayson ready for some summer baseball.
“My two-year-old Maverick, he’s been out here at the ballpark, and not only just playing catch, but also with his bubble mower lawn mowing the grass in his little way of doing it, and he’s fired up, and every morning he wakes up and says ‘ballpark, ballpark’. He wants to go to the ballpark and I think a lot of people in Savannah want the same thing,” Cole said.
Cole says that since summer leagues across the country were cancelled, and college baseball season was cut short, they had more than one thousand players reach out, and have a full 40-man roster. One familiar face will be back on the mound, “Dancing” Alex Degen. He says players are itching to get back on the field.
“I would say this summer definitely holds some more weight than the other summers just for the fact that its different and it’s abnormal and you know, every other summer you just kind of put your kilt on and you watched 5,000 people, and it’s baseball," Degen explained. "This summer is different. I mean, there’s a virus that’s breaking out in the entire U.S. and it’s just weird, so I think this summer is going to be special. It’s going to be different, but it’s going to be really fun none-the-less.”
Degen says his return date is Monday, June 15 and Cole says they will go through a similar process to spring training to get back into the swing of things.