It’s the beginning of a new week, but I reckon it doesn’t feel that way to many folks who may not have work today or tomorrow. I’ll have my thoughts on the holiday later today, but, until then, Bullets …

  • Former Cub and long-time Red Ryan Freel died on Saturday from an apparent suicide at age 36. He had a number of concussions throughout his career, and there will now be the speculation about the connection between his death and the concussions. It’s a sad story among many sad stories.
  • A profile on Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson and an early look at the 2013 Draft.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at the Nick Swisher signing, which suggests a team trying to rebuilt and improve for the near-term simultaneously. Dual tracks or twin fronts or something like that.
  • And now for the part of the story where a friend or family member shows you some slides from a vacation they took, but which you could not possibly be less interested in …

As I mentioned, we went to the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum this weekend, which was totally awesome if you’re a baseball nerd. The idea that virtually every bat used in MLB and in the minors in a given year is made there in that one facility is just crazy to me. You weren’t allowed to take any pictures in the factory part, though, for industry competitiveness reasons, so you won’t see any from in there. But don’t you worry! I still got some great shots for you!

Here’s me out front, trying to do the that-guy-is-holding-the-thing-up-oh-wait-it’s-just-a-camera-trick-except-we-failed-at-it thing:

When you walk in to the building, you’re greeted with a wall of all of the signatures for bats they’ve collected over the years, and one of them jumped out at me:

Right next to Ron Tingley, which may be among the best baseball names ever. What I want to know: in 1982, when they were both in the National League, did Ron Tingley ever face Dick Tidrow? And, if so, did the universe collapse in on itself briefly?

The museum part features a bunch of bat history, and game-used bats, and some great players who’ve been honored:

They had a few of the actual, ready-to-be shipped bats available to view and hold, and I swear to you, this was the first, totally random bat that I pulled:

So, if Starlin hits a walk-off homer to clinch a playoff spot in September, you’ll know it was with this bat, and it was because I imbued it with my awesomeness.

They’ve also got a batting cage there, and I was pleased to see that, in pictorial form, my stance doesn’t look so outrageously bad:

I got to use a wood bat for the first time that I can recall – and it’s freaking hard. Those bats are heavy. And whose model did I use? Babe Ruth? Ted Williams? Ernie Banks? Nope:

You may not quite be able to see, but among the ten or so choices of Hall of Famers and superstars of today was … Ryan Theriot. Boo-yah. Unsurprisingly, I hit a whole lot of weak grounders to short and a couple bloop singles.

All in all, a totally excellent visit if you’re in the Louisville area. And I got a personalized Chicago Cubs bat on the way out, complete with our soon-to-be-son’s name (arriving late February/early March). Pretty excited to give him that.

  • Jim

    as a native / resident of Louisville, glad you had a great time. We’re pretty proud of the bat factory. And to answer someone’s question, yes, they make the bats there not China!!

    Merry Christmas!

  • Leroy

    how did you end up hitting? I got 4 out of the 10 pitches or whatever…I love Louisville Slugger Museum…its awesome…I felt like a kid going through the tour…

    • Brett

      8 out of 10 the first time (contact, mostly weak), 10 out of 10 the second time (contact, about half were solid contact).

      • ISU Birds

        I went with David Wright’s 9/10 2 felt like good cracks.

  • Leroy

    I used Theriots also…

  • Huey Lewis

    Awesome! Did hit into a lot of double plays as the human double play RT did? Anyway, the place is amazing. I once went to a fancy wedding rehearsal dinner there. Honestly, best one I’ve ever been to. If you and your wife ever renew your vows….

    Most of thanks for all you man. I live in Chicago and despite still subscribing to both local papers (print), you are still the first source I check every day.

    You’ve mentioned your wife is a teacher as I am and we often hear that we don’t know the impact of the work we do. I’d say the say the same to you Brett. You’ve created a wonderful community here. I read other blogs and they respect you and vice versa. For my money? Bleacher nation. Today. Tomorrow. Always.

    Merry Christmas and may your 2013 be even better (if a bit noiser).

  • Evolution

    If you ain’t an American…then, boy…I just don’t know what one is.

    Looks awesome…never been. Now, I gotta go.

  • Mikelach13

    Brett glad you enjoyed the Louisville Slugger factory experience! Great Pics!

    Thank you for all you and Luke do on this site for us Cub fans!

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (along with an awsome bat in RF, of course!)

  • Chase S.

    Weirdly, I was way more interested in the vacation photos than the Cubs news. Happy Holidays

  • Sam

    Sounds like an awesome time, Brett!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Devin

    “Unsurprisingly, I hit a whole lot of weak grounders to short and a couple bloop singles.”