May 16, 2022
The umpire calls ball four and all hell breaks loose.
Rather than trotting to first base, the batter breaks into a sprint and doesn’t stop, rounding the bag at full speed. The catcher jumps up and throws to the shortstop, who tosses to the second baseman.
The crowd is roaring now as fielders keep flinging the ball from one to another. Amid this chaos, the runner digs hard and slides into second. Safe.
Wait, didn’t this all start with a walk?
Baseball gets flipped on its head when the Savannah Bananas hit town. The Georgia team, which normally plays in a collegiate summer league, spent the past three months barnstorming the country for a series of exhibition games, testing a radical new version of the sport.
“Banana Ball” moves at breakneck pace. There are no bunts, no visits to the mound and a two-hour time limit. If someone in the stands catches a foul ball, the batter is out. And walks? The otherwise mundane play continues until every fielder — even outfielders — touch the ball.
“A lot of moving parts,” Bananas first baseman Dan Oberst says. “You can’t blink or you’ll miss what happens.”
Eccentric rules are only part of the circus atmosphere. The first-base coach dances and the team celebrates home runs by racing into the stands for high-fives. When the Bananas are in the field, they might launch into a brief, choreographed routine between pitches, spinning and slide-stepping like the Four Tops in cleats, only to resume play as if nothing happened.
Source: Yahoo Sports (Photo by: WBUR)