19 March 2011
This place should be on every baseball fan's Bucket List. Remember that great movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman a couple of years ago. There is even a book called The Baseball Fan's Bucket List: 162 Things You Must Do, See, Get and Experience Before You Die, by Robert and Jenna Santelli. This place is located in downtown Louisville, easily found because of the big bat sticking up into the sky. It is about 8 blocks down the street from the front entrance to a very nice AAA stadium used by who else, the Louisville Bats, premier farm team of the nearby Cincinnati Redlegs.
I'm sure Easton or Rawlings or whoever else makes baseball bats doesn't have anything like this. They give tours of the bat factory even on weekends, though they may not be making bats then. Major leaguers use about 100 to 120 bats in a season and they usually get them in lots of 10 or 12. They can be reproduced to very fine specifications and quickly too because of a fantastic computer-operated lathe machine, said to be made in Italy rather than the good old USA.
In addition there is a nice museum of historical baseball stuff in general and bats in particular. They have a pitching machine which reminds you exactly how fast a 95 mph fastball arrives at the plate. Below is the bat vault, where a copy of all the major league bats they have ever made is kept. I always kept using a different bat, hoping I would find something that I could swing quickly enough to get around and near the ball.