THOMASVILLE — The Thomasville Bulldogs baseball team hosted their fan day on Saturday afternoon and it’s safe to say it was a rousing success for both the fans and the team. The team arrived, to the fans surprise, in interesting clothes. Players dawned anything from overalls and large hats to jean shorts and sleeveless jerseys. It looked strange at first as the players signed autographs with young kids in these peculiar get ups. That is, until the fans realized what was going on. The Bulldogs were playing banana ball.
Banana ball is a version of baseball that is built for entertainment. Batters aren’t allowed to leave the batters box to make for a faster paced play, a foul ball caught by a fan is an out and when a batter is walked it’s all out chaos. The game was made famous by the now legendary Savannah Bananas.
One of Thomasville’s assistant coaches, Johnathan Robinson, spent time with the Bananas and suggested that they let the boys cut loose on Saturday.
“JR (Johnathan Robinson) was like, ‘let’s just be a little loose with it on Saturday’,” said head coach Erik McDougald. “We know when to flip the switch and you can be rest assured that we’ll flip that switch tomorrow (scrimmage vs TCC), but that was just as chance to take a break.”
For McDougald it is important for his players to relax and cut loose. It’s a chance for them to relax before the pressure and intensity of the season kick in. Of course, he wants the fans to have fun as well. But, for him, fan day also serves as a reminder to his players. There were a ton of kids at fan day wanting autographs and asking questions to their favorite players. They asked what bat they use and as ked to see their gloves. McDougald hopes it serves as a reminder of the influence the high school baseball players have on the younger generation. That the same way these high schoolers look up to Bryce Harper, Shohei Ohtani, and Ronald Acuna Jr., these kids look up to them.
McDougald harkened back to one of his favorite memories. A picture of Jacob Jordan, a former Bulldog who now pitches at Pensacola State, with his nephew on fan day.
“For our family it’s a priceless picture,” McDougald said. “It means a lot to me. Jacob meant a lot to me, still does. My nephew means a lot to me too and I’ve got this picture of them. Whatever Jacob’s saying, he’s just locked into it. Those are the memories and the things that to me last a lot longer than even the season itself. It’s a lifetime memory.”
Thomasville will flip the switch to game mode as they meet cross town rival Thomas County Central in a scrimmage on Tuesday beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Bulldogs will then hit the road as the open their season against Valdosta and Bainbridge, before their home opener against Cairo.