Keeping Score: Bananas employee runs manual scoreboard

Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Plenty of people all around the ballpark make sure that the Bananas hold onto their title as the most entertaining team in baseball each game.

But one employee stays outside the stadium away from the hustle-and-bustle of a sold-out crowd.

“Usually, I show up here around like 6:00, you know, an hour before the game starts. I get a couple of waters sometimes, maybe a little bit of food, and then I just wait for the game to start and watch the game, put the numbers in, and that’s about it,” Connor Dodge said.

Each time the Bananas drive home a run, the scoreboard changes to reflect that. Behind the board is one man, Dodge, who grew up not far away from Daffin Park on Wilmington Island.

Dodge ensures one of the historic aspects to the stadium remains - the manual scoreboard.

“Basically, I’m in centerfield and I get to see like every pitch that the pitcher throws, and I can kind of follow the ball wherever it goes, so it’s really cool to watch. I mean, the way the pitchers throw the ball sometimes is crazy, and then sometimes you have the centerfielders and the short-stop and second baseman dancing all together and somebody is back here recording it. It’s really fun,” Dodge said.

Dodge watches each pitch from a hole around the size of an iPhone. Changing out the numbers on the scoreboard to reflect runs, hits, and errors throughout the game.

He says he never gets bored being away from the crowd. The Bananas are just that much fun.

“I’m just watching everything and getting secondhand entertainment from it,” Dodge said.

In a world of electronic scoreboards, video boards - even Major League Baseball discussing robot umpires - the Savannah Bananas have married the new with the old. Think TikTok meets Big Green Monster, that only adds to the uniqueness of a game day in Savannah.

“I think it’s really important for the Bananas to honor our history here in Grayson Stadium. A park that was built in 1926, rebuilt in 1941 into the stadium you see today, that you know, on the left-field wall, we have all 14 teams that proceeded the Bananas, and the history is right there. You can see it every time you visit the stadium, and then you go through the concourse, and you have pictures of the Babe, and Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Dale Murphy, John Smoltz, you know? It’s unreal the kinds of people who play here, and come to watch games here and just the thousands upon thousands, upon thousands of folks who have been entertained by America’s pastime here in Grayson Stadium, and although we are the new wave of baseball, and we’re trying to increase the speed and entertainment value of the game ... I think it’s really important to honor everybody who has gotten the game to where it is today to where hopefully we can save it and make it better for the future,” Bananas broadcaster Biko Skalla said.

“While there are so many fans here that want to come see the antics and all this fun stuff that we do, there are people that love baseball and want to see a great baseball game, and we do put that on as well, you know, we’re the top team in our division. We play very competitive baseball and I think that’s a great aspect that kind of pays respects to the historic stadium we have, in the sense of we’re able to play such competitive baseball, while being to bring the new age of baseball into Grayson Stadium,” Bananas pitcher Charlie Fleming said.

Only in Savannah can history meet the new age and coexist like Historic Grayson Stadium and the Savannah Bananas.

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