May 11, 2009
Ever heard of Batting Stance Guy? If you’re any kind of baseball fan, you’ll appreciate his uncanny ability to mimic the stance and swing of pretty much every major leaguer since the ’80s. And even if you don’t know the difference between Torii Hunter and Catfish Hunter, you’ll appreciate his story as a great example of how technology, social media and a bit of creativity can turn something that probably made his buddies laugh at happy hour a few years ago into a growing Internet sensation.
In fact, Gar Ryness, aka Batting Stance Guy, has taken what he calls “the least marketable skill in America” and marketed it well enough to make money. I’m guessing he can’t match the bank accounts of the players he imitates, but you have to give the guy credit.
He got his first bit of notoriety when one of his buddies took a video camera and filmed him doing impressions of Boston Red Sox players. They cut it into a short clip, posted it on YouTube and sent a link to Bill Simmons at ESPN.com (a big Sox fan). When Simmons called it out in his popular online column, things took off in a big way – beginning with the blogosphere and social networking sites and culminating with major stories in places like The New York Times, ESPN and MLB Network.
Now, his videos have been viewed more than a million times on YouTube, he’s got his own Web site at battingstanceguy.com, he’s selling Batting Stance Guy merchandise, he’s being invited by teams to make appearances and you can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. And believe it or not, he was even hired by Sony to impersonate players while wearing electrodes to help them make their MLB 2009 video game more realistic.
Do yourself a favor and check out some of his work, such as World Series Walk-Off Homers. All of you fans here in Minneapolis will particularly enjoy his Minnesota Twins compilation, which ends with his impression of Kent Hrbek, fat Kent Hrbek and fattest Kent Hrbek. Good stuff.