All 30 MLB ballparks will feature Minnesota company's souvenir mini-bats
No matter where you take your baseball road trip this summer, Pillbox Bat Co. of Winona is providing new souvenir mini-bats for all teams.
WINONA, Minn. — Heading to Target Field or any other Major League Baseball ballpark this summer?
There's a good chance you can bring a piece of Minnesota home with you once that last out is recorded.
Pillbox Bat Company in Winona will its their handcrafted bats in all 30 MLB ballparks for the 2023 season. The most common type of Pillbox bat in every ballpark this season are the company's new souvenir mini-bats with designs based on their mural series.
“We can't help ourselves but come out with more unique ideas and things, like how to interpret, whether it be the artwork or the product itself,” said Dan Watson, co-founder of Pillbox. “Fans are definitely used to souvenir bats like when I grew up going to Twins games in the Metrodome. You'd walk out with a navy blue bat with maybe a red Twins logo on it and that was the extent of it.”
The designs incorporate all 30 MLB teams primary logos at the lower end of the bat with a secondary logo of the team on the barrel of the mini-bat.
Watson and the other members of the Pillbox crew learned last October during the MLB postseason that they would be getting the license rights to make souvenir bats for MLB. To Watson and company, it came as a surprise.
“We've been scrambling to put together a Major League Baseball catalog, and one of the things that the industry of Major League teams has been clamoring for is a new supplier for mini-bats. So we jumped on that, and now you have a new take on mini-bats,” Watson said.
Watson and the others at Pillbox attribute a great deal of the help to get them their bat-licensing deal with MLB to their longest running Major League partner: the Minnesota Twins. Watson said Twins President and CEO Dave St. Peter helped expedited their time frame of landing the bats licensing rights.
In a letter of recommendation to MLB on Pillbox's behalf, St. Peter wrote, “Fans are looking for something more handcrafted.”
“That was his reason for wanting us to get licensing,” Watson said. “The industry and sports fans in general have been kind of gravitating towards that art more."
That movement can be seen in the Twin's unveiling this off-season of new uniforms where the team wanted to incorporate the whole state in their designs with the North Star included in their new road uniform.
Pillbox is currently working to get orders completed from all 30 MLB teams for these souvenir bats so they can be ready and available for Opening Day on Thursday, March 30. For many fans across Major League Baseball, these new souvenir mini-bats at their favorite team’s ballpark will be their first exposure to Pillbox.
“Nobody's done art like we do on baseball bats and carried them in all Major League Baseball parks for an entire season," Watson said. "From the consumer standpoint, it is really cool. From our standpoint, it is really cool as well, so I think everybody's just kind of waiting to see what happens. It comes down to what are the fans going to be drawn to.”
The souvenir mini-bats will also be available on Pillbox’s website — pillboxbatco.com — for purchase come Opening Day.