Hit, man: Sunny days ahead — new Bats ready to heat up

Something new for the Louisville Bats this summer — hitting!At least that’s what the team and fans have been expecting. It just hasn’t happened yet.The Triple-A baseball club has been mired in a long losing streak through the cool, rainy days of spring, with run production noticeably lacking. Kind of like the past two seasons when the Bats floundered to losing records because the lineup was populated with banjo hitters (no offense to banjos) who couldn’t hit, and especially couldn’t hit with power.

The crux of the matter: As passions for rock climbing rise, so do concerns about nature in the Gorge

 When the weather warms — and it is warming — we can expect full-on sun and steam ahead in this river valley. This week, LEO shows you all the options to plunge into summer action — from taking in the majesty of Kentucky’s Red River Gorge to rowing on the Ohio River to grooving to summer sounds at area concerts to relaxing with the best in summer reading. In LEO’s 2006 Summer Fun Guide, photographer Ross Gordon takes readers to the Gorge and gives breathtaking views of climbers on the area’s rugged cliffs while reporting on efforts that these climbers and others are making to preserve the natural beauty and heritage of Kentucky. Look further and see where Bill Doolittle hits on what he thinks is ahead for the Bats this season. And finally, check out the area farmers’ markets where purchasing local produce helps support regional farmers and neighborhoods. —Elizabeth Kramer, special projects editor 

Rumor & Innuendo: Rumblings From the World of Sports

Dynamic Duo.Together again after all these years for a tour of Japan are the hottest duo since Jordan and Pippen. I’m talkin’ NRBQ’s Terry Adams and Steve Ferguson. Uh, oh yeah, the tandem are rock and rollers, not ballers. My point — not that you feel my pain — is that this is the most fallow season for the sports rumor biz. Like I said last week, nobody’s got nothin’, and them’s that do ain’t talkin’. OK, I’m off the pitty pot.

What a Week

Democracy inactionLocal voters flocked to the malls on Election Day, and to the parks and to work and to bars and just about anywhere besides the polls, as Kentucky held primary voting for dozens of offices that were too much trouble for all but 20 percent of voters to think about. The low turnout — coming at a time when the NSA is spying on citizens and Washington wants to build a wall between Mexico and the United States — should help show Iraqis what democracy and freedom are all about. Among the election winners was a fellow who, like Yahoo! and Yum!, starts with a Y and ends with a “!,” and who will try to can Anne Northup in the fall. In other freedom news, Metro Corrections mistakenly released a fifth inmate in less than a year.

Rumor & Innuendo: Rumblings From the World of Sports

Osborne cornhuskered! A couple of football seasons ago, Nebraska moved into the modern day when they rejected a legacy and hired pass-happy Bill Callahan as football coach in Lincoln. It’s been a rocky start. But those Big Red fans showed last Tuesday they are truly ready to move on. Former pigskin coach-cum-icon, Tom Osborne, lost the GOP gubernatorial primary. Say it ain’t so. A three-term congressman, the three-time “national champion” coach had never received less than 82 percent of the vote in an election. He’s quoted as telling his supporters: “This is a tough one to take.”

Summer Game Faces

NAME: David, Melissa and Madison AllenAGE: 47, 29, and 2SPORT: Cycling (All are members of the Southern Indiana Wheelmen*)OCCUPATION: David, owner of a cabinet business; Melissa, senior actuarial analyst/underwriter.MOST IMPORTANT MUSCLE (to do what you do and why): The heart muscle. It helps with the hills.SHINING MOMENT: David and I completed the Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) in 2005 together. (RAIN is an annual 160-mile ride on the Historic National Route 40 sponsored by the Bloomington Bicycle Club. For more information, visit www.bloomington.in.us/~bbc.)WORST INJURY: No serious injuries as of yet.PERSONAL SPORT THEME SONG: “Soak up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow.FAVORITE SUMMER EVENT: The Old Kentucky Home Bicycle Tour, a two-day ride from Louisville to Bardstown and back. (This year’s tour is on Sept. 9-10. For details, go to www.okht.org.)FAVORITE AREA SUMMER SPOT: Riding in the Sellersburg, Ind., area, with its nice country roads.

Barbaro: a living flame flickering

Right now, in the days just after Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro broke down in the opening strides of the Preakness Stakes, we don’t know if the horse will make it or not. Surgery performed at the New Bolton Center for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania was pronounced a success, but long months of recovery remain.

Unbridled spirit of KY gun control

Some might say it’s ironic that a man was shot and killed last Sunday evening at a funeral home. The man, 33-year-old Kevin D. Carter, was attending the service of his future father-in-law when shots were fired into a crowd in front of A.D. Porter & Sons Funeral Home on West Chestnut Street.

FOR’s Friendship Delegation to Iran: May 2006 - Report One: An Early Start to Peace-Making

BY FOR IRAN DELEGATIONNote: A story in last week’s LEO discussed a group of seven Louisvillians taking part in a Fellowship of Reconciliation peace mission to Iran. The following is part of the group’s first report, filed late last week. Please visit www.forusa.org to read more of the group’s updates.

Long ride to freedom

The language being foisted on the debate over Derby cruising has shown a profound range, from righteous indignation to benign denial. Words like “apartheid” have entered the discourse not sideways but head-on, as in accusations thereof, as city and police officials continue to call the lock-down on West Broadway a “success” in unmitigated terms. It’s essentially a default dismissal, some argue, until next year’s Thunder Over Louisville, when the debate will again begin and end over the course of about a month.