Kangaroos, cowboys and stilts: Dozens of minor league hopefuls turn out to Bananas premier team tryouts

Sports

Sam Claycamp thinks he knows the secret to success in baseball. 

“Just being yourself so kind of cutting loose and having fun with it,” Claycamp explained. “When you play loose, you play better.” 

If that’s true, then the players that showed up to Savannah Bananas tryouts might as well be World Series champions. 
 
One player that had no problem staying loose is former Armstrong State baseball player Ryan Patterson, who attributes his skills on the diamond partly to his mustache. 

“I’m not a huge facial hair guy and I can’t really grow a good beard, but it seems like the ‘stache is coming in nice,” Patterson said. “I’ve never had one person tell me they don’t like it except for my wife. “

Patterson is also proudly defined by his home run swing and his power-lifting gains in the gym. 

“The most I’ve ever dead-lifted is 682 and most I’ve ever benched is 445,” Patterson said. 

Some people at the tryout opted for speed over power, like Malachi Mitchell, who can get halfway around the diamond in just seven seconds. 

“I call myself ‘Flash the Kid,’ and I try to honor that as much as possible wearing the lightning sleeves and lightning socks,” Mitchell said. 

Nicknames and facial hair might make someone a loud personality on a normal baseball team, but in this theater of the proudly absurd, Mitchell and Patterson were among the tamer ones. 

From stilts to Stetson hats, 70 players pulled out all the stops to prove they were more than just baseball players; they were Bananas. 

“It’s not just a job,” Claycamp said. “It’s a game so you’re having fun with it and enjoying every chance you get to play on a baseball field, whatever that looks like.” 
 
Claycamp, Mitchell and Patterson all made the team, but our own Connor DelPrete tried out and definitely didn’t. Watch the story of his tryout here. 

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