Wiffle Ball Just Wasn't In the Stars…But Sword Swallowing Was
A Thorough Documentation of My Night With the Huntsville Stars, in Words, Pictures, and Video.
I had a good reason for this — the Huntsville Stars were attempting to set the world record for “Longest Wiffle Ball Game of All Time”, and I decided that it was my duty to document the action. This epic game of wiffle ball was scheduled to begin on Friday, May 15th, after the conclusion of that night’s contest between the Stars and the visiting Chattanooga Lookouts. In theory, it was to last all the way until 6 pm on Sunday.
Just one problem, though — torrential downpours and lightning storms in the Huntsville area put a kibosh on death-defying feats of Wiffle stamina. When my two friends (Frick and Frack, respectively) and I arrived at the ballpark, here is the sight that greeted us:
That meant that the evening’s regularly scheduled plan was out of the question. There would be no Wiffle ball.
But when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That’s certainly the philosophy of Huntsville Stars GM Buck Rogers, who was determined to have a good time at the ballpark despite this significant setback.
Buck, who doesn’t seem to do anything halfway, had hired the services of one Dan Meyer for the evening. Dan is a sword-swallower, and an expert practitioner of his craft. The downpour had relegated him to the team’s picnic area, giving him nothing much to do.
By this point in the evening, the game had been called and there were only a smattering of people left in the ballpark (mostly members of the Stars’ front office staff). But the lack of an audience didn’t deter Buck, who asked Dan to give a demonstration of his skills on the outfield grass. Dan, as befits a true professional, was more than happy to oblige.
So, it had come to this. What I had thought would be a 44-hour game of Wiffle ball had somehow morphed into an impromptu on-field sword-swallowing performance in front of an audience of 15 people.
It is things like this that make me glad to be alive.
Dan began his performance by giving a detailed explanation of the sword’s journey (“it will hit my heart in the center of my chest…”). He then swallowed the sword, giving Buck the opportunity to pull it out. Behold the video:
For the grand finale — the bullwhip:
Needless to say, this was the most fun I had ever had at a Minor League rainout.
And let me state the obvious: Dan Meyer is an extremely entertaining performer. I believe that this appearance in Huntsville was his Minor League debut, but he has performed the world over in a variety of (literally) jaw-dropping situations. Perhaps most notably, he swallowed a 30-inch sword underwater while surrounded by sharks and stingrays. Check it out here. He has also founded the Sword Swallowers Association International, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting this dying art.
Truly, one of the things I like most about supplemental Minor League ballpark entertainment is that it is welcoming to performers like Dan Meyer. Individuals such as Rubberboy, Dave the Horn Guy, Myron Noodleman, and Mad Chad bring vaudeville sensibilities to the masses, helping to keep alive a dying and distinctly American form of traveling entertainment.
In closing, I must acknowledge the fine work of Mr. Joseph Pisch, who took all the photos and video seen in this post. I would also like to thank Mr. Jonathan Fischer, my personal chaffeur. That’s Joe on the left, and Jon on the right. They tried to get in on the freak show theme by smashing each other’s thumbs with a hammer, but all it ended up eliciting was stares of disgust and pity.
Of course, there was more to my Southern odyssey than just this one trip to Huntsville. When time allows, I’ll do a follow-up post highlighting a few other memorable moments.
Until then, send me an email. and tell me why I absolutely need to visit your Minor League ballpark. I would very much like to.