Baseball is America’s pastime, a game rich in history and time-honored traditions, where change is slow to be embraced and slower still to be adopted.
Then, there are the Savannah Bananas, a minor league baseball team that has changed the way baseball is played.
Yes, the fundamentals of the game remain the same. But the Bananas—who are bringing their unique brand of baseball to Syracuse’s NBT Stadium Thursday evening as part of their sold-out Banana Ball World Tour—incorporate a fan-friendly style that has ushered in a new generation of fans, something that was sorely lacking in Major League Baseball (MLB).
Enticements include a breakdancing first-base coach, a dance team consisting solely of grandmothers (the Banana Nanas), choreographed walk-up performances for every batter and a commitment to providing fans with nonstop entertainment from the moment they enter the ballpark.
And the voice of the Bananas, Biko Skalla ’18, is an up-and-coming broadcaster who, like the players he covers, isn’t afraid to break traditional norms. Skalla shows excitement and passion that is reflected whenever he calls a huge moment for the team. He lets his goofy personality show through to the audience with an over-the-top call. He’s even conducted postgame interviews in the shower or in an ice bath following a big win.
With a personality that perfectly aligns with the zany on-field antics of the team he covers, Skalla has found a home in Savannah as the Bananas’ ultimate hype man while honing a craft he hopes can carry him to the big leagues.
Biko Skalla ’18 is an alumnus of the broadcast and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School.