Flame on! Stuntman set on fire, runs bases in minor leagues

So, this professional stuntman let a lucky fan at a minor league baseball park set him on fire so he could do a postgame flaming home run trot.

Of COURSE he did.

And, as if the dude were Rick Dempsey pretending to be Robin Yount during a rain delay — only on fire — he finished with a head-first dive into home.

All in the name of baseball and, apparently, setting a world record for the longest run (300-plus feet) while aflame.

"Burning Man" Ted Batchelor and the Savannah Sand Gnats of the Class A South Atlantic League — a New York Mets affiliate — cooked up this little scheme, which came to a boil Saturday night at historic Grayson Stadium.

Via MiLB.com:

Gnats team president John Katz was jubilant, "That might just have been the coolest thing I've ever seen at a baseball field, bar none."

Very cool, especially for a guy on fire. It's true that, whenever a licensed and bonded stuntman bursts into flames while holding a bat, you have combined two of America's great pastimes — barbecue and baseball.

Batchelor, a two-time Guinness World Record holder in the flaming arts, said he has wanted to do this particular stunt since 1977, adding:

"It was a magical thing to come out of the dugout and grab a bat and go to home plate. It was very strange to see both clubs out there watching. It was cool to watch these minor leaguers watching me. As a baseball fan, I'm in awe of their talent."

As for his blazing circuit, Batchelor said: "It felt great."

Playing devil's advocate, though ... Would it have harmed the stunt for Batchelor to round third base waving his arms in a panic, like all of the flaming Hollywood stuntmen do in the movies?

And then to have the Gnats' wacky mascot put a wooden door with a frame just in front of home plate for Batchelor to burst through?

And then to have another flaming stuntman tag him out at the plate with a Teflon-covered mitt?

No, it would not have hurt in the least. Maybe he can incorporate such elements when Batchelor gets promoted to Double-A.

Via Gawker, here's more amusing video of the stunt from ESPN, plus another perspective via a local affiliate in Georgia.

Hot stuff, comin' through!

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