Friday, August 24, 2001

Louisville Slugger checks swing on 'old bats' sign

Irate needlepointers cry foul on billboard message

By Bruce Schreiner
The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — Needlepointers 1, Louisville Slugger Museum 0.

        When the shrine to baseball put up a billboard proudly proclaiming that it had “more old bats than a needlepoint convention,” irate needlepointers swung back — and connected.

[photo] The billboard for the Louisville Slugger Museum.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
        Workers this week painted over most of the phrase on the billboard, leaving the words “old bats” above a picture of a century-old bat. The museum has an extensive baseball bat collection.

        “We really didn't want to offend anyone,” said Bill Williams, the museum's executive director. “We just learned our lesson, that there are a lot of needlepointers out there.”

        The museum happens to share Louisville with the headquarters of a national embroiderers' group, whose members cried foul.

        “I personally don't like the reference of needlepoint convention attendees being referred to as "old bats,'” said Bonnie Key, office manager at the headquarters of the Embroiderers' Guild of America. “I'm sure they saw humor in that, but I know our membership would not.”

        The organization has 20,000 members, and they are not only older women, she said. “Our membership is from probably 6 years old up to 100 years old,” Ms. Key said.

        Plenty complained to the museum, which is owned and operated by the Hillerich & Bradsby Co., maker of Louisville Slugger bats.

        Mr. Williams wasn't even safe at home. His wife is a partner in a uniform and embroiderers' shop, and “she let me know she didn't think it was funny,” he said.

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- Louisville Slugger checks swing on 'old bats' sign