The factory is the anti-Miller Brewing factory. It is much smaller than you would ever think. The entire Slugger factory is in one room. All bats made for Major League Baseball are made on one machine. (whose machine? MY machine) It seems like Louisville Slugger should have graduated from this setup somewhere around 1950.
Also- part of the old school feel of the factory... You walk right through the factory on the tour. There are no glass partitions or dividers of any kind. You can pretty much walk directly up to any of the machines.
How do those machines work? The machines make a bat in 30 seconds flat. They also have a machine for commemorative and personalized bats. In our tour guides words: "If somebody famous comes to town, we get them a bat." They make bats for the hall of fame, world series, and presidents. One bat we viewed was designed for the host of this reverse game show. What is Jeopardy?
They burn all the writing on wood bats directly into the bat off of a hot template. In fact, in the factory, they have all of the autographs of every major league player who has ever used a Louisville Slugger. This is awe inspiring and colossal... but it is kept in this tiny mail-room type cabinet. It's basically the genie in Aladdin: Cosmic powers, itty bitty living space. The cabinet, however, is not voiced by Robin Williams.
A few words about the Museum:
- It's very interactive, and one particularly cool thing is "Batter Up!" which shows you the delivery of a particular pitcher and the actual speed at which his fastball comes. Hint: they're fast.
- They also have an exhibit with some attempted bat redesigns through the years. Some of my favorites were the double knob bat (designed for choking up), the bent handle bat (designed to increase torque), and the counter weight bat (which has a gigantic handle, and is supposed to balance your swing).
- Outside of the museum, they have what appears to be Paul Bunyan's bat. It's a bat, standing on its side that must be six stories high. or so. I am not really sure how tall a story is. It's tall. just take my word for it.
"The pitcher's only got a ball; I've got a bat." Let awesome quotes like that be reason number 7,832 we root for Aaron over Bonds.
By the way... now I have a bat. A miniature one that they give out on the tour... so if you've only got a ball, watch out.