By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – A Cooperstown Bat Company bat thrilled Houston Astro Jose Altuve early today, and by 9 a.m. the Cooperstown company’s products were being praised on ESPN Sports Center.
As Bat Company owner Tim Haney described it in a call from Florida a few minutes ago, he was at Astros’ batting practice and asked Altuve if he’d like to try one of the Cooperstown bats.
“He took it over to the batting cage,” said Tim. “All of a sudden he went right to the batting machine, which was throwing pitches at 90 miles an hour.”
“It was a little nerve-racking,” said the local businessman, who is visiting spring-training camps to get MLB players to try his wares.
Altuve liked the bat so much he used it for the whole practice, then walked into the clubhouse. He emerged a few minutes later and told Haney, “I just ordered six. I’d like to get them here as soon as possible. If the six are as good as this one, I’ll be ordering from you all season.”
Sal Paolantonio, the prominent sportscaster (and SUNY Oneonta graduate), saw all this happening, approached Tim and Ralph Ramirez, who is accompanying him, “and asked us the whole story.”
Sal’s wife also graduated from SUNY Oneonta, as did Tim’s wife Connie, and they found they had a lot to chat about.
Sal told Tim he would report the story at 9 this morning on ESPN Sports Center, and invited Ralph to come along and videotape the segment live.
“The wood came from the mill in Hartwick. It was turned at the factory store in Hartwick, and engraved and shipped from downtown,” Haney said. “It’s a cool process, and a cool thing to be on national TV, particularly in a baseball town.”