A Backstreet Boy played for the Savannah Bananas

'I struck out a Backstreet Boy! It's the greatest thing I've ever done in my career.'

September 3rd, 2023
Photo by Campbell Dunn

This past weekend, on a hot night in Georgia, two titans of pop culture collided.

One is at its height today. One is part of a group who took over the world more than 20 years ago.

But on Saturday night, they were on the same historic ballfield at Grayson Stadium.

Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys played for the Savannah Bananas.

"Jeremy [Guthrie] called me and said, 'Dude, you wanna come play?'" Littrell told me. "I said, 'Dude, that would be a dream come true.'"

Guthrie and Littrell practice their dance moves pregame.

Guthrie, who played 13 seasons in the big leagues, was in town to pitch with a group of players from the MLBPAA -- they were in the final game of a three-game Challenger Series against the Bananas. The relationship between the member of the 2015 Royals World Series champs and pop icon began way back in 2010.

"We actually met at a concert in Baltimore," Guthrie said. "I was pitching there and by happenstance, his bodyguard recognized me and came up to me. We talked baseball, he asked if I'd like to meet Brian afterwards. It was a blast, we really hit it off. Since then, we've stayed in great contact. He'd go to games and watch me and I'd go to shows and watch him."

Pregame, Littrell -- a high school baseball player who loves the game -- seemed excited about his at-bats. Mostly because his son was a big fan of the Bananas.

"Probably [a hit] right up the middle," Littrell said. "Right over Jeremy's head."

Littrell's arrival to the batter's box was, as most Banana walk-ups seem to be, electric. The entire ballpark swayed to the Backstreet Boys' biggest hit.

Unfortunately, Littrell's at-bats were not as electric.

The 48-year-old struck out against his friend Guthrie in his first appearance -- laughing the entire time. And in his second and final appearance of the night (accompanied by another huge BSB hit), Littrell struck out again. Although not the ideal outcome for him, it was one to remember for MLBPAA pitcher Shawn Kelley.

"I struck out a Backstreet Boy!" Kelley said, smiling as he came off the field. "It's the greatest thing I've ever done in my career."

When asked where this ball would go in his trophy case, Kelley said his wife, Kristina -- a big Backstreet Boys fan -- had already claimed it, saying, "This one's mine."