Ron's View - Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky is famous for housing the world renowned Churchill Downs. The breeding of thoroughbred horses is also a big business in the "Bluegrass State". But, there is also Triple A baseball played there, and a wide variety of nightlife opportunities. Being a mere 300 miles from our hometown of Chicago, Louisville has made for a convenient and fun stop on 2 different journeys.
We stopped in town on day 2 of the 1994 Baseball trip, and on day 1 of the 1999 trip. The best story happened in '99. Scott and I always build up a ton of energy in the days leading up to each year's trip. Scott coined the term "anticipation/realization threshold", which occurs when the amount of days leading up to a trip becomes equal to the amount of days in a trip. Therefore, we had just lived the 10 days previous to this trip in a serious vacation mode. We were ready to PARTY!
The ride on I-65 through Indiana was its usual boring but functional self. At 6:30 p.m. we checked into our trusty Motel 6 in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and prepared ourselves for a night on the town. Wanting a good food base, we went to what I consider to be the pizza place with the best tasting pizza anywhere - Tubby's in Jeffersonville, Indiana. This statement means quite a lot since I reside in Chicago, the pizza capital of the United States and I eat pizza at least 3 times weekly! This is a totally unsolicited endorsement. Stop in when in town and say Hi to Tubby (a.k.a. Glen Mensik) and his dedicated staff. And enjoy some FINE pizza. And some cold brews, of course. Anyhow, after receiving a fine meal, we decided to explore downtown Louisville with the idea of stopping at Tubby's on our way back. Here is where another funny thing happened.
To preface, we had unknowingly begun a trend of carrying our motel room phone book with us in our car each evening. We use them for their maps of the town, as well as to get addresses of local bars. After a late night, we would forget to take them out of the car, and would find them the next day, at the next city on our journey. Soooo.....we knowingly began the tradition of leaving the previous city's phone book in the motel room of the current city. This occurs daily for 10 consecutive days. Sophomoric humor, but fun and harmless.
Our room had no phone book in it. Being day 1 of the trip, and full of the aforementioned high energy, and full of beer, I decided to commit the crime of the century and abscond the unchained phone book from the bar we were at. Nobody was looking, so I casually sauntered out the door and headed for the car. I was a good 1/2 block away, when I heard someone yell out "HEY! He's stealing our phone book!" Assuming he must be referring to someone else, I continued walking. I was met at my car by a 300 pound bouncer who wanted to know why I'd commit such a felonious act. Despite my slightly inebriated state, I quickly came up with a story. I said that I was from out of town, pointing to the Illinois plates on my car, and needed to find lodging for the night. I told him that my intention was to bring the book out to my car phone, make the reservation, and bring the book back. After all, Scott was still at the bar, and I still had a full beer of my own to consume. I guess that this story was more believable than the truth, so he apologized for his error in judgment.
Of course, now I felt compelled to actually bring the book back, so this bouncer actually did prevent me from carrying out my dastardly act. Enough of this fun - it was time to go back to Tubby's!
It was about 1 a.m. when we re-entered Tubby's, and knowing that he had a 2 a.m. liquor license, we figured we would only have time for a quick nightcap or two. Sure enough, the neon lights were turned off, the customers left, and the front door was locked. But Scott and I were still in there! Tubby and one of his employees, Ronnie Lindsey, had developed a friendship with us (mutual, of course). We didn't open our wallets for the next 3 hours as Tubby, Ronnie, Scott, and myself knocked back brew after brew and talked about topic after topic. It was getting toward dawn, and I was getting mighty tight. Leaving at 5 a.m. despite the pleas of Tubby for us to stay a bit longer, we found the Motel 6 in time for a few hours of restless sleep. It wasn't a fun night, and the motel room didn't smell quite so fresh by the time we left.
It was a painful drive for me. But lunch at Scott's friend Jan's house in Berea, Kentucky perked me up, and the balance of the drive to Knoxville was much easier.
In case you hadn't noticed, we didn't actually see a game that night. But, I have seen games there on 2 occasions. Cardinal Stadium is huge for the Minor Leagues. Over 33,000 seats and a full upper deck look down upon an Astroturf field, unfortunately. With the charm of this stadium and the loyalty of the fans, natural grass is the only missing link to perfection.
As a final side note, Louisville is also home to Hillerich and Bradsby, makers of the famous Louisville Slugger bats. They just never seem to be open for tours when I pass through town. Next time for sure!