Louisville’s Greatest Hits
When in Louisville, you hear a lot about baseball, bourbon and betting.
The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory has placed the world’s largest baseball bat in front of its lobby doors. This replica of Babe Ruth’s 34-inch wooden bat has been reimagined in steel, weighing 68,000 pounds and towering 120 feet into the sky. We joined their first factory tour of the morning and were shown the entire manufacturing process beginning with the delivery of tree trunks to the shipping of the finished bats. They have thoughtfully designed an interactive and educational museum complete with batting cages, highlight films and tons of memorabilia. My favorite thing was holding Derek Jeter’s actual personal bat. There. I said it.
Since consuming Kentucky bourbon wasn’t on our itinerary, our next stop was the Muhammed Ali Center which is dedicated to his life and legacy. It is a well-conceived and brilliantly executed museum. There is a tendency in some places dedicated to the memory of a larger-than-life person to gloss over their controversial and unattractive periods. (Graceland, I am talking about you.) To their credit, the Muhammed Ali Center provides a balanced representation of Ali’s life complete with the difficult and polarizing aspects. Before departing, Mariah shadowboxed a bit and tried her hand at the speed bag. Having reinforced her decision to not pursue a career as an athlete, we then departed for Churchill Downs, the storied home of the Kentucky Derby.
An entire multi-million dollar industry and a great many floppy pastel hats are in existence because some three-year-old horses can run very quickly for two minutes. We took a behind-the-scenes-tour, swivelled in our seats to watch a 360-degree projection of a film set to very loud music and went to the track to watch a few afternoon races. I am putting Churchill Downs on my list of places that I am glad to have visited but that make zero sense to me. Am I missing something? It’s a two. minute. race.