SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah Bananas will begin the 2020 season Wednesday night at Historic Grayson Stadium.
The season had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Team owner Jesse Cole and President Jared Orton took WTOC on a tour of the stadium Monday afternoon, providing a look at what Banana fans should expect when they come to the ballpark this summer.
Several rows of bleachers have been roped off to keep folks from sitting back to back, and there are markings taped to help create distancing when in line to get in the ballpark or for concessions. Stadium capacity will be limited to 50 percent. The way fans buy food will also be different. A plexiglass divider will separate staff from people in line.
One thing that will now be required at Bananas games is face masks after Savannah Mayor Van Johnson’s mask mandate took effect Wednesday at 8 a.m. The team announced on Tuesday that anyone entering the stadium would be required to wear a mask
As for the mask-wearing, the City’s order says a mask isn’t required if you’re eating or drinking, which many people do at sporting events. President Jared Orton says it isn’t the staff’s responsibility to police the order, saying it’s just not possible. He is hoping fans take it upon themselves, once they’re inside the stadium, to follow the city’s mask order.
“Hopefully we can do that on the front end with signage and communication, taking care of people up front, and obviously our entire staff setting an example by wearing them literally throughout the night,” said Orton. “Hopefully if we set the example for people, they’ll continue to build those new behaviors.”
Mayor Johnson confirmed Tuesday players on the field were exempt from wearing the mask.
“Looking at the guidelines from the CDC and other doctors that we’ve been talking to, when we’re out on the field and we’re not in an enclosed space, then we’re good, we don’t have to wear masks,” said head coach Tyler Gillum. “So that part of it is going to be completely normal. The dugouts are going to be interesting because we have so many players. So we’re trying to figure out exactly what the dugout’s going to look like- how we’re going to space everybody out. We’ll have a bunch of pitchers in the bullpen. The same thing for the visiting team. They’ll have some guys in the bullpen, so they’ll be spread out a little bit more.”
The Bananas announced their own streaming service, Bananas Insiders, in May.
Since there will be reduced capacity in Historic Grayson Stadium due to COVID-19, the club launched the service to bring the team right into your living room. The team says it will air every home game, with behind-the-scenes videos, live Q&A with coaches and players, documentaries year-round, and unique camera angles.
The Bananas will face rival, the Macon Bacon on Wednesday night at Historic Grayson Stadium. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
WTOC will be at the game and bring you coverage tonight on THE News.