Each year, the Louisville Slugger Museum gives away hundreds of thousands of miniature novelty baseball bats to patrons who take the tour—and untold thousands are confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration at Louisville International Airport.
You can’t put mini bats in carry-on. You have to check them.
That changes on April 25.
The TSA is revising the list of items prohibited in carry-luggage; small pocket knives, billiard cues and golf clubs (“limit two”), among other items, will be allowed in April.
And so will the mini bat—good news for the Louisville Slugger Museum, where the prohibition against the novelty bats in carry-on luggage has been an on-going issue for years.
“Most folks, when they look at the mini bats, they’re cute—they’re a fun little souvenir and they aren’t anything you would necessarily immediately think of as a dangerous thing,” said Anne Jewell, executive director of the Louisville Slugger Museum.
Jewell doesn’t know an exact number of Slugger mini bats confiscated by the TSA at Louisville International Airport. It’s definitely in the thousands, she said. Those mini bats were usually auctioned off after confiscation, she added.
About 244,000 people took the Slugger tour last year—and got a free bat, Jewell said. Jewell estimates that out-of-towners make up 60 to 70 percent of the museum’s patrons, though not all of them arrived or left Louisville by air.
Since the outgoing regulations went into effect after 9/11, tour guides have cautioned patrons that they can’t carry on the free mini bats onto planes, Jewell said. The museum also has signs warning patrons about the regulations.
The mini bats are also sold at the museum’s store, and the clerks have been trained to caution purchasers about the regulations.
“We look forward to taking down all of the warning signage that we have up,” Jewell said.
Full-sized baseball bats will still be prohibited. The new rule in April: Bats longer than 24 inches and weighing more than 24 ounces still won’t be allowed in carry-on, but bats more than 24 inches but weighing less than 24 ounces will be permitted. (See graphic below.)
TSA Administrator John S. Pistole ordered the changes after a committee reviewed the current list of prohibited items, TSA said.
“This is part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives,” TSA said in a statement.