Coming to Hartford next year: Savannah Bananas, the 'World Famous Baseball Circus'

Photo of Christine Butterfield

The team known as the "World Famous Baseball Circus" is coming to Connecticut.

The Savannah Bananas, an exhibition baseball team that's become a viral sensation, will play at Hartford's Dunkin' Donuts Park on Aug. 14, 2023. The stop is part of the team's 2023 Banana Ball World Tour.

"When (Jesse Cole-founder of First Entertainment and the Savannah Bananas) announced that 'World Tour' I just thought it was so important to be on that list. I didn't want to be one of the venues that did not recognize the importance of this fun iteration of baseball," Yard Goats General Manager Mike Abramson said.

Abramson, said he was first approached by Cole about the possibility of a game last November, after the Bananas 'took the show on the road' locally a few times. Cole was very interested in taking the 'circus' to the North East.

It was in June of this year that Hartford was approached again about the game and the sides worked to solidify plans.

"It's a little odd to have a baseball team come in and play baseball in your baseball stadium, but we understood their promotional draw," Abramson said.

It will be a homecoming for New Milford High graduate and former University of Hartford player Jackson Olson, a TikTok star who joined joined the Bananas last summer. The game was announced by the Bananas on social media and Olson was among those responding with the tweet, "COMIN HOME BABY!!!!!!"

The Bananas have gained attention for their on-field antics that have been captured in viral videos. The franchise has been the subject of an ESPN documentary and they sell out at home.

"They really are the hottest thing in entertainment at the moment and well deserved," Abramson said,"Jesse Cole is 100 percent the hardest working man in show business."

Next summer, the team will play 70 games across 33 cities in 21 states. 

Some Triple A stops on the tour include Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Des Moines, Sacramento, Syracuse, Nashville, Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

The team will play a team billed as "Party Animals" or a team of challengers, similar to a Harlem Globetrotters game against the Washington Generals.

"I just love the fact that they've taken the game and they've removed all of the things they consider to be 'boring or unnecessary.' So I love the fact it's a two hour timed game. There's all sorts of rules like you can't walk a batter," Adramson said. "There's not a moment in the game where something's not happening you know, it really is like watching a three ring circus"

Olson joined the team after becoming a social media influencer. He has found a way to follow both his loves: social media and playing baseball. 

"From the get-go, that was an attraction to me. There's a local kid on there, but we're familiar with him too, he came out this year to a game and did some social media stuff here. So we know him. He's a great guy ... it just brings it home literally and figuratively," Abramson said.

The popularity of the team was evident by the reactions to the announcement. Connecticut native and former UConn quarterback Dan Orlovsky joined in on the excitement by commenting,”See y’all there.”

Another Connecticut native in sports media, Mike Golic Jr., also commented on the announcement saying:”Alright fine I’ll fly back.”

The game will be held on a Monday when the Hartford Yard Goats are off.  According to the Yard Goats, tickets are not on sale yet. Those interested can visit thesavannahbananas.com/ontheroad/ to join the presale alerts list to be notified about all ticket information as soon as it’s announced.

Tickets are usually made available to the pre-sale list about two months before the game.

"(The Bananas) are going to be here for one day and one day only, I expect it's going to sell out exceptionally quickly," Abramson said.