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June 17, 2010

Gar "The Batting Stance Guy" Ryness: 48 Hours That Will Last a Lifetime

Posted by Anonymous

Gar Ryness has become a cult hero to baseball fans with his batting stance pantomime act seen across the nation. His love for sports, and baseball, naturally came from his father, Gary. Here, Gar recounts a whirlwind 48-hour trip to the Midwest to watch some teams that hardly merited the trip. But then again, wins and losses weren’t nearly as important as father-son bonding time. Pictured: Gar and Gary rooting on the Cubs in their younger years.

gar and gary ryness.jpgKids are expensive.

Anyone who has kids might warn you about that factoid if you ask. Even if you don’t ask they may mention it in an exhausted, breathless, rambling monologue about the stresses of being a parent.

My dad spent boatloads of money on me, that’s for sure. Clothes, a car or three, summer camps, the vanity plate for my jeep that read “garzkar”, college tuition despite less than spectacular grades, medical bills when I had surgery to remove a tumor in my shoulder… I could probably write a book about everything he’s paid for.

Here’s the thing though --- what stands out in my mental warehouse are the $5 replica baseball helmets he bought me at the various stadiums he took me to as a kid. I know what you’re thinking: $5 for a replica helmet? You can’t buy a bag of peanuts for $5 these days. Anyway, $5 went a long way in my mind. But really it was memorable because he spent a ton of time with me. It felt like he was always there.

Gar RYness cover.jpgHe coached my little league teams, he took me to Giants, A’s, 49ers and Warriors games. I’m no shrink but I’m pretty sure him spending time with me is why we still have a good relationship today and why I’m a somewhat functioning member of society. That is what I think about every day --- not just on Father’s Day when I’m mandated by greeting card companies and ugly tie makers to think about how awesome my dad was and is. If you read my book (you should because my dad thinks everyone should buy my book and I really don’t want to disappoint him) you’ll see why it was impossible for me to tell my story without including him in my narrative.

If there’s one story that sums up my lifelong relationship with my dad and baseball it’s the whirlwind 48-hour trip to the Midwest that we took in 2005. We flew into Detroit on a Friday afternoon at around 5PM. After quickly checking out the University of Michigan’s football field (long enough to run the stairs all the way to the top), we watched the Tigers play a night game at Comerica Field against the Yankees.

After the Tigers’ shutout of the Yankees, we hopped in a rental car and drove to Cleveland, arriving at about 3AM. First thing Saturday morning we toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

After a quick lunch we drove to Canton, Ohio for a tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We then make it to Pittsburgh just in time for the slightly-rain-delayed start of a Marlins-Pirates game at beautiful PNC Park. We sleep for several hours at a hotel in Pittsburg and then leave first thing in the morning to see Ohio State University’s campus followed by a Cardinals-Reds day game in Cincinnati. The Reds lose in a blow out and we head to the airport in Cincinnati, just making our 5PM flights back home. In case you’re wondering, the Reds, Pirates and Tigers were a combined 64 games under .500 in 2005.

If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

Gar Ryness has appeared at baseball stadiums across the country with his “Batting Stance Guy” routine, as well as on several television programs. His book, BATTING STANCE GUY: A Love Letter to Baseball (co-authored with Caleb Dewart) is available wherever books are sold.

Tomorrow legal thriller author Robert Dugoni shares a touching tribute to his father, Bill.