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Savannah Bananas ask attendees to give up seats for upcoming game

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Baseball fans in Buffalo are worried they may not be let into Sahlen Field next week when the Savannah Bananas’ “Banana Ball” comes to town.

The team is slated to throw the first pitch next Friday through Sunday in their “Banana Ball” show, where players break into dance and other in-game antics designed to entertain fans.

Some people who bought tickets received an email asking them to give up their seats for other incentives.

Tickets went on sale in October, but this week, those who already secured seats received an email stating that tickets are general admission and open seating. The email went on to say that it’s hard for the team to deliver a top tier experience with that model.

“I’m a big baseball fan, so I go to games across the country and I’ve never got an email saying, ‘Hey, do you really want to go or do you want to give your ticket in for something else?’” Bananas fan Marty Brownsey said.   

To resolve the problem, the team pitched a solution to fans where fans could upgrade their ticket to lower level seats at no extra cost or voluntarily get ticket credit for a game next season.

The catch: the games offered are in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or Miami, Florida.

“My family and friends are all planning on going, and I wouldn’t pull that back from them at this point for really something that would be more difficult to get to and would cost more — obviously travel, getting a hotel room and to go down to Miami or Philadelphia for a night or two,” Brownsey said.

News 4 asked the Savannah Bananas if the proposition was made because they overbooked the stadium.

They said that was not the case and stated that since the games are on a holiday weekend, people who had tickets were changing plans and couldn’t make it. They added that they wanted to offer a refund or credit for later.

“They do their own ticketing system, from what I understand, because I had to sign into the Banana Ball account, and therefore there’s no assigned seating,” Brownsey said. “I can see it would be difficult to do that for all the stadiums they’re going to, so with the general admission model, that creates some challenges.”

Anyone with a ticket will not be turned away at Sahlen Field and will be allowed to enter on game day, the team said.      

“I think they may have got caught in a situation where they’re growing so big — hopefully they’re trying to rectify something that went wrong somewhere else and make it better,” Brownsey said. “I don’t think it had any nefarious intent, but kind of growing pains as you go to a wider audience.”

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Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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