Monday, December 27, 2010

YouTube SENSATION: Batting Stance Guy

Gar Ryness has made a living off of doing what every wiffle-ball playing 10-year old  in America has done in their backyard for decades. What started out as a YouTube phenomenon has quickly become a growing brand, complete with a detailed website and a new 256-page book. This guy's been featured in the New York Times and has even been a guest on David Letterman - all because he can imitate the stances and swings of Major League hitters.

It's a pretty amazing story, and I gotta give it to this guy - he's riding this wave and enjoying every second of it. When you YouTube "Batting Stance Guy," what seems like hundreds of videos pop up - he's no one trick pony. If a player has ever heard his name announced in a Big League stadium, chances are the BSG has got his stance down to every little detail - the stance, the hand gestures, the facial expressions, the nervouse ticks, the on-deck routine, and of course, the swing. It's a ridiculous skill to have, but he is the undisputed best - I think there's something to be said for that.

There are videos of him doing the full lineup of current teams, All-Star Game line-ups, and countless other groups or teams of players. His attention to detail in these players' stances is remarkable - he's actually able to pick up on small changes that a player adds to his setup over the course of his career. It's like in Good Will Hunting when Matt Damon is trying to explain his genius ways: "Beethoven, okay. He looked at a piano and it just made sense to him. He could just play." Well Batting Stance Guy looks at hundreds of different batting stances and they all make sense to him. They don't blend together, nor does he get complacent.

It is something that seems so easy, yet I know that my Youk and Griffey (my two personal bests) likely don't hold a candle to his - impressive to think that those are just two out of the hundreds in his repertoire. And they're all in the holster, ready to be showcased the instant that player's name is shouted.

The coolest part about all the attention he has garnered has got to be meeting the Big Leaguers whom he impersonates and performing his imitations for them in person. There are videos of him with Manny, Prince Fielder, Nomar, Carlos Quentin - it's unbelievable. And they can't get enough of him! They love him, they accept him as one of their own! Manny could have kept him there at Dodger Stadium all day long just shouting out random players he wanted to see imitated. But then, eventually a butterfly would flutter by or something and he'd get distracted.

I've got to tip my cap to the BSG. This guy has taken a hobby, mastered it, and played it for all it's worth. There is hope for wiffle-ball enthusiasts everywhere. A job well done.  

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