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Take a peek inside the Louisville Slugger factory to find out how Major League bats are made

(Luke Sharrett)

It's officially Spring Training, which means that actual baseball things are happening on actual baseball fields. But it's not enough. Baseball's been gone for four long months, after all, and we need every little bit of it we can get until the season starts. 
So, in those agonizing hours in between Kyle Schwarber moonshots, why not take a photo tour through the Louisville Slugger factory -- the birthplace of every bat used in the big leagues. We know that Giancarlo Stanton fashions his bats from the lightning bolts of Zeus, but for us mortals, how exactly are those things made? Unsurprisingly, you need to start with a whole bunch of wood:

Once they're cut down, bats are sprayed and stained:

Or, if it's a specialty bat -- like, say, the pink bats used to promote breast cancer awareness -- they need to be painted and left to dry:

Then comes the signature: that famous Louisville Slugger logo.

And you can't brand anything, of course, without one very special ingredient -- FIRE:

We're not quite done yet, though. After all, if you make it to the show, you're entitled to some customization. First comes the team ...

... and then comes the player. Here's Curtis Granderson's, for example:

And from there, they're off to the diamond, where they'll be used to send baseballs into orbit -- at least, in a couple of weeks.
All photos courtesy of Luke Sharrett/MLB Photos