Wiles described the experience as “trial by fire.”
Since then, Wiles has appeared as Casey and performed the poem in a variety of different venues.
“I’ve done appearances on behalf of the hall in 22 states,” said Wiles.
Some of the places that Wiles has performed the poem are schools, minor league baseball games and FanFest, the annual convention held every year in the city where the All-Star Game is being held. At FanFest, Wiles said that he would perform the poem as many as ten times a day.
One of the places Wiles has not performed Casey is at a major league baseball game. While Wiles was invited to perform at one time by the Boston Red Sox, the opportunity fell through.
“I’m not ruling out a major league appearance in the future,” he said.
Wiles said that he really likes being able to perform the poem in front of children, and helping to maintain its place in popular culture.
“About half of the kids that I do this for … will be familiar with the story,” said Wiles, remarking on the poem’s endurance and citing it as one of the best known American poem’s.
When he performs, Wiles says that he introduces the poem and asks the audience to participate in certain parts, such as the calling of strikes on Casey, before beginning his performance. Wiles uses a bat while reciting the poem, which is either a bat from the 1930’s donated by Cooperstown resident Willis Monie or a bat donated by The Cooperstown Bat Company. The uniform he wears is based on one originally borrowed from The Glimmerglass Festival, which was used in performances they put on of the opera “The Mighty Casey,” which is based off “Casey at the Bat.” Although he’s grown out a mustache for the role, and has used a fake mustache provided by a Broadway Costumer, Wiles now uses temporary tattoos in order to recreate the handlebar mustache that has become associated with Casey.