Chat with the Batting Stance Guy
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, special guest Gar Ryness, aka The Batting Stance Guy, stops by to share his skill with SportsNation.
Ryness has what he calls the "least marketable skill" in America, which his uncanny ability to mimic batting stances from current players to retired ones. He's gone from playing wiffle ball in his backyard to YouTube sensation to print form with his new book, "Batting Stance Guy: A Love Letter to Baseball." His videos on YouTube have over 2 million views.
Send your questions now and join the Batting Stance Guy Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:56 PM)
Gar Ryness, aka the Batting Stance Guy, will be here at the top of the hour to take your questions!
Buzzmaster (1:59 PM)
Gar is here!
Do you think there's something in every players' stance that you could try to mimic, or do you only try to do stances that have something very significant that you can pull out?
Gar Ryness (2:01 PM)
Often I don't look at what a hitting coach would look at, so it might be there facial expression or the way their shirt is unbuttoned too much. Or in the case of Aaron Hill, he does absolutely so little, it's funny to just freeze frame him. In theory that he should be boring, but because he doesn't do anything, it's funny. You're supposed to be like Aaron Hill, a little league stance. I find it interesting. It's like Wheezer, they're so uncool, they're cool.
jeremy (Va) [via mobile]
Does hearing, "Arn't you that guy who pretends to hit a baseball in different stances?" ever get old? Another question, do you have a real job or do you make enough money with your book and appearing on talkshows to cover all the time it must take to get each stance down pat?
Gar Ryness (2:02 PM)
I like to live in everyone's imagination that this is all I do with my life. I do have another life, but this one has been really fun and has given me the ability to live out childhood dreams of being on a baseball field.
How much time does it take to perfect a certain stance? Or does it differ?
Gar Ryness (2:03 PM)
I don't have a system to practice the stances, so to keep it fun for me, I wait until someone requests it and then do the first thing that I think of when I think of that player. I don't have a mirror tha tI practice in front of.
Do you worry more about getting the stance just right or about finding that one or two small things that each player does and excentuating that so make those parts stand out more?
Gar Ryness (2:04 PM)
Definitely the second part. I'm not that concerned about getting the stance right. I'm trying to aid people's enjoyment of baseball. I'd love for people to love baseball more. So, if I do something that's funny that reminds someone of their youth of watching baseball, then that's great. That feels successful to me, if people remember their childhood in Chicago because of Mark Grace's follow through. THat's more important then getting the toe tap just right.
how do you make a visual thing into a book?
Gar Ryness (2:08 PM)
I've seen a game in every stadium and I've loved baseball since I was a little kid. On the imitation videos, I haven't told any stories of being at the '89 World Series earthquake game or seeing two of the dozen walk off games or countless of interactions with Big Papi, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Kenny Lofton, Dave Righetti. And my sister is a storyboard artist for films and did a lot of art work capturing the funniest moments as me as a bobblehead with a certain player's characteristic, like John Kruk's tobacco, Ivan Calderon's shirt, Rollie Fingers moustache, Pedro Martinez and Don Zimmer's brawl. There's all that artwork in there. We recreate classic moments. There's a lot of stories that we were able to tell framed around the greatest 50 stances. The chapter on Japan, really has to be explained. You need the spoken word for that one.
Gar Ryness (2:08 PM)
There's also a picture in there of me at 7 years old going to Halloween as Pete Rose in his stance.
Ernie Rushing (Fayetteville,NC)
Gar, love your intensity with YOUK!! Thanks for putting baseball on the map. I'll tell your sis and bro-in-law hey this weekend. Have I seen Bo Jackson?
Gar Ryness (2:09 PM)
The Bo Jackson imitation is a very plain stance, but then finishes the swing with his right hand pointing toward the ball, a la Hanely Ramirez.
Who do you think has the weirdest batting stance of all time? you should do it sometime
Gar Ryness (2:12 PM)
A guy in Japan named Hitoshi Taneda. Youkilis is the craziest in the States, although, during the war, the Yankees called up the one-armed Pete Gray. I get requests for him.
I couldn't tell on First Take this morning...do you use a wooden bat or wiffle ball bat? I can't decide which you should be using. A wood bat would be cool, especially if a team or player gave it to you. But a wiffle ball bat would be keeping to your roots.
Gar Ryness (2:13 PM)
It is a plastic bat, mainly because I would look like a 10 year old if I tried to imitate Gary Sheffield with a wooden bat.
Ever gone to the video game people and said "Hey you can pay me to do all of the stances for the motion capture suit thingy with balls all over it (I don't know what it's called) instead of paying the players to come in."?
Gar Ryness (2:15 PM)
Yep. I am on your MLB The Show. I did it for the '09 game. Sony PlayStation contacted me. I thought it was a friend playing a joke on me. They had me put on the wetsuit for the motion capture. I do write about that in the book. The motion capture taught me about how the players swing.
how far back do you go? Any old, old timers that you do?
Gar Ryness (2:17 PM)
We have a chapter in the book called "Baseball Before I Was Born." So I didn't rank Stan Musial in the top 50 or Bobby Tolland. But I wanted to pay some respects for guys that my dad's generation will request. My brain turns on in 1980, so a lot of the stars in the 70s were still playing.
With your book coming out, how does it feel to actually be marketing the self-proclaimed "least marketable skill in America"?
Gar Ryness (2:18 PM)
Good question. Surreal.
Gar Ryness (2:21 PM)
I thought I was a fairly normal guy that loved baseball. Writing the book and having to unearth my love for baseball's origins, it reminded me of the scene in the Usual Suspects when Verbal Kint has told this amazing story to Chazz Palminteri and then Chaz looks at the wall and realizes it's all story and it all makes sense all at one time. I didn't know that kids in Northern California didn't dress as a Montreal Expos catcher for Halloween. I didn't know that other families didn't force their kids to not watch TV and so I would pick up 25 baseball cards and a wiffle ball bat and act out a whole baseball game. If I would take an airplane ride as a kid, I would make up a baseball game and score it in a scoreboard and write out the box score. I got in trouble in the second grade for sabotaging the green crayons because I would draw a baseball field. I didn't know that was overboard. To see a game in every stadium...
Gar Ryness (2:22 PM)
From the book and from appearances and from stuff we do on the web, I just love it if people will have the same experience with falling in love with baseball that I have. It's been really unexpected for it to give so much back to me in a tangible way.