Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Day 4: Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum

All photos of Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum available on Flickr.

Today we spent the day seeing what downtown Louisville had to offer. The day of course started with the purpose of this whole 2-day excursion to Kentucky: the Louisville Slugger bat factory. Erik and I got there around noon and toured the factory and got to see where and how bats were made, everything from souvenir bats to major league bats. There are over 1000 combinations of make, model, color, weight, and balance to choose from, and each player has a specific bat made just for him. It was fun to walk through the factory watching the old guys who have clearly worked there all their lives engraving the bats and running the lathes. It's not done by hand like it used to be, and it only takes about 30 seconds to wittle a bat from a log to a bat today. The best two facts on the tour were when the tour guide said that twice a week a turkey farmer stops by the factory and hauls away the waste - over 37,000 pounds of sawdust - and when the tour guide showed us the back wall where there were over 18,000 metal plates with past and present players' signatures that are used to engrave their bats! At the end of the tour, we got a free mini-bat, a little "cog" sawed off the end of a Derek Jeter bat, and a free T-shirt for taking a survey. Erik and I then hit up the museum portion of the building, the batting cages, the store, and Erik purchased a personalized bat with his signature on it for $70. Thanks to mom for getting me a pink Bill Hall bat for graduation, because I for sure would have dished out the cash for a bat myself.

This took a few hours and we decided to hit up a little sammich shop next door that turned out to be delicious. I believe I stated on the blog yesterday that the best ballpark food was the nachos, but we soon found out from this restaurant that the Louisville specialty was fried bologna, which was also served at the ballpark last night. It was a little mom-and-pop restaurant named after the lady's beagle called Boomer's. It was very personal and the food was excellent. We then spent the rest of the day walking around downtown and riding the 25-cent trolley to a place called "4th Street Live," which is a portion of 4th street that is covered and pedestrian-only, lined with bars. We of course stopped here for a drink. Our day concluded with a quick drive through the University of Louisville and subsequently past Churchill Downs.

Tomorrow it is off to Evansville, Indiana to catch the independent-league Otters, where we have free seats awaiting us. It is close enough away that it should be our first opportunity for us to put a dent in my four bags of charcoal in the trunk and tailgate.

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