We went from zipping to swinging in Louisville

FATHER’S DAZE
Emmitt B. Feldner  for The Review

Having gone underground to start our Kentucky vacation, our next stop in Louisville was my choice.

We spent two days on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to celebrate our anniversary and wrapped two days in Louisville around that – a day before the Trail and a day after.

Terry had found the world’s only underground zipline tour in her pre-trip research on Louisville and put that on our must-do list, but after we got that out of the way it was time for my reason for going to Louisville – the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum.

First, though, we had to stop for lunch – which was probably the right order to do things.

If we’d done the Mega Caverns zipline tour after lunch, we might have needed a second lunch after losing the first one.

We found a nice little brew pub restaurant in downtown Louisville and discovered that Kentucky creates other fine libations besides the whiskey it’s famous for – and we’d come to find out about.

It was just a few blocks walk from there to Louisville Slugger, which we managed just fine, despite sampling the best the brew pub had to offer.

Actually, it would be hard not to find Louisville Slugger, since there is a 70-foot tall model of a Louisville Slugger bat planted on the sidewalk in front of the factory and museum.

Even if we’d drunk the brew pub completely dry, we’d still have been able to find that 70-foot bat.

Although it appears to be leaning against the factory building, it’s actually a free-standing sculpture – and it makes a great backdrop for portraits.

We naturally got our picture taken in front of it, and returned the favor for the couple who took our picture, then headed inside for what I’d come to the city by the river for.

I’ve been a baseball fan all my life – I was forced to become a fan when I discovered early on that I had absolutely no aptitude for or skill at the sport – so Louisville Slugger was someplace I’ve always wanted to see.

Terry indulged me on this one, although she ended up having almost as good a time there as I did.

We were wandering through the museum before our tour began and, in one area, they had several bats from Hall of Famers on display in front of a photo backdrop of a baseball stadium.

You could choose from several different bats to get your picture taken with the bat in the batter’s box – although the attendant did warn us that we weren’t allowed to swing the bat, just hold it and get our picture taken with it.

They didn’t have bats from any of my favorite Mets players when I was growing up – somehow, neither Rod Kanehl or Choo Choo Coleman ever made the Hall of Fame – so I had to settle for getting my picture with Mickey Mantle’s bat.

That’s probably as close as I’ll ever come to any of my baseball fantasies, holding Mickey Mantle’s bat, but I actually have a picture to show off with me holding the Mick’s bat and striking a perfect batting stance.

Terry got her picture taken with Johnny Bench’s bat – a chance to give her brother, a big fan of the Big Red Machine, a hard time.

The factory tour gave us a chance to see how bats are made – the old-fashioned way by hand and the modern way by computer-controlled machines – and actually watching them being manufactured.

Among others, we got to see racks of bats just finished for B.J. Upton of the Braves and David Wright of the Mets, as well as a number of others.

We didn’t get to see them making bats for any of the Brewers, but considering the way they’re playing this year, maybe they haven’t made any bats for them at all yet.

Our tour guide did tell us that every bat is carefully inspected and checked before being shipped to the players – and the bats that are defective aren’t destroyed, they’re all sent to the Chicago Cubs.

NEXT WEEK: Our second day in Louisville, playing the horses.


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