Hey- Nice Wood!
So, the Mrs and I are taking our vacation to the Smokey Mountains and there were a number of things of SSS related interest. So, while relaxing in a luxurious room at the Hippensteal Inn overlooking the setting sun in the great Smokey Mountains, I wanted to share some highlights and recommendations for Louisville KY, a surprisingly AWESOME baseball destination! Read on, after Le Jump!
What you should know about Louisville-
1- Home of the Louisville Slugger Factory
2- Home of the Louisville Slugger Museum
2- Home of the Louisville Bats, the AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds
3- Home of Churchill Downs. No baseball interest, but still really cool.
So, # 1, 2, and 3 in order...
The Factory... Totally cool. Fun facts about them:
Over 40,000 trees die for baseball. But these all die in sustainable forests, so baseball makes the environment bettter- thanks, baseball!
There are only 9 allowed batting paintjobs.
Minor Leaguers have to pay for their own bats, and dont have custom ones made.
Each MLB player goes through about 100 per year.
Maple was only used about 10% before Barry Bonds. When he got the HR title, it jumped to 45%. I am sure it was the bats, and not anything chemical....
All Louisville Sluggers are branded with a wood burner with their logo, unless they are made of maple. Maple bats have decals put on them. To brand them would make them shatter even more often.
The factory has a lathe that can make a custom bat duplicate of the existing bat template in less than a minute. Wowzer!
Enough factory facts, more pics from the Museum, where I could use my camera....
Fun pic # 1: The unform of the Chicago Colleens of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League!
Here is me holding David Ortiz's big black stick... and it changed me... forever.
An actual bat from Shoeless Joe!
In honor of Dunn's Home Run tonight...
One cool exhibit is a batting cage-esque where you can stand safely behind glass while a machine in front of a Cole Hammel projection throws 95 mph fastballs at you. HOLY FUCK! freaks you out even behind glass, and gives you a new respect for the hitter's art.
So, then on to the game, at Slugger Field. Louisville's greatest hometown diamond hero is apparently PeeWee Reese.
Tickets day of game, 3 rows behind visitor dugout were 11 dollars each. Beers 5.50. The stadium was right off the expressway, 5 dollar parking literally across the street. The design of the stadium is akin to the Target field design- a grand concourse wraps around the entire park in a loop. (3 times around is a mile- Thanks Humana!)
Fun things about the game: Their mascot is kinda cool. A big purple bat.
The Knights have a Third Baseman (a former Louisville Bat as well) named Gookie Dawkins. Gookie Dawkins? 4 reelz? Its no Coco Crisp of a name, but still- Gookie? Jar-Jar Binks would be more believable.
Lastings Milledge plays his ass off- literally...
I saw Dayan!
and Danks' less talented brother!
So, the game itself.
Our starter was Deunte Heath gave up a run in the first, but he settled down and went into the 6th. During that time, the Knights had a lead, but then our bullpen sharted the bed, assisted by errors by DeAza, (both credited and uncredited), I nicknamed our 2nd baseman Eduardo Escobar 'Shorty' because he kept jumping for hits just over his head. The Bats has a stud you will be hearing about someday soon named Denis Phips from the Dominican Republic who just got promoted to AAA. He is impressive.
All in all, Good times, great trip, and Louisville is a great city- have to come back soon. I will leave you with a few pics from a discovery near the downtown.
Addenda, for Kenwo: