Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
19Trip End Oct 07, 2012
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At the Louisville Slugger Museum you can see almost the entire process by which they make the bats. What's particularly interesting is that prior to 1980, they could only craft twelve bats before lunch and twelve afterwards. They used a lathe and hand carved the bats. I can only imagine how many you would have had to screw up to finally get it right.
What I learned (which I am sure many more committed fans like my husband are very aware of) is that while there are regulations for major league bats, there is quite a bite of leeway within the guidelines which allow hitters to have very specific preferences for the way their bats are made
The machinery at the current Louisville Slugger factory is very impressive. It used to take about 30 minutes to make a single bat and now, with the computerized lathe, it takes 30 seconds. So, given this change, it's possible to see how all of our manufacturing has gone from a high level of complexity to about 20 people in the entire production line from start to finish.
It was also interesting to learn that Louisville Slugger has always been an 'environmentally friendly' company in terms of the fact that they replant the trees with four for every one that they cut down. Bats are made out of ash mostly, although sometimes maple, which they harvest from Pennsylvania and New York. It makes sense that if this is where you like your wood to come from, you better replenish it. (I just learned on Wikipedia that these forests are apparently being threatened by an invasive species of insects that eat ash and that the company has been figuring out other forests to use in the even that theirs become eaten.)
The only thing that was really stupid about the Museum and Factory was that they had a special room for the 'lady' fans (honestly, the tour guide said, 'for all you ladies,') to check out the 'hottest' players
Following that, we checked out a few random roadside attractions in Louisville including a plaque at the spot where "Happy Birthday" was first published as an actual song and a giant bat. This successfully completed our mini-tour of Louisville and we subsequently hit the road for Cincinnati, only a short drive away.
I don't know if I noted it earlier, but the trees are changing throughout Kentucky and Ohio. We tried to get some pictures while in the car. This is not always successful, but it is hard to resist the urge to document all of the beautiful colors we can see while we are on the highway.
Our first stop in Cincinnati was the National (Underground Railroad) Freedom Center. This was a rather strange museum. We were looking forward to it because we both knew the outlines of information about the Underground Railroad and thought it would be pretty fascinating to learn more
After the museum, we walked around downtown Cincinnati and checked out the Reds Stadium along with some of the other sights on the waterfront. It feels like it is having a little revitalization with a new waterfront park. In general, we felt like Cincinnati was a much more attractive and vibrant city than we were expecting.
For dinner, we went to Skyline Chili which is a well-known local chain. Their version of chili is not really in accordance with more Tex-Mex fare
It's hard to believe that we are here in Cincinnati at this point. As with all trips, this one feels both long and short at the same time. We only have two more destinations! Tomorrow it sort of a smorgasbord of fun with potentially Taft's house here in Cincinnati, some photo ops in Columbus, OH, a stop in Ohio's Amish country and finally on to Cleveland! We have two nights in Cleveland and it should be good with a little Ferrante family history mixed in with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.