Podcast Transcript

Buzz Knight 00:00:05

All right, well, I’m going to start this. Bill Lee. As we’re taking a walk with Bill Lee, the Space Man here. And we’re in Fall, River, Massachusetts. We’ll explain why. Bill. Well, thanks for hanging out here. I want to play a little game, I used to call this poetry corner, this little game.

Bill Lee 00:00:22


Buzz Knight 00:00:23

And I want you to hear the poem and see if you can guess the song that it actually is. Okay.

Bill Lee 00:00:29

Really? Yeah.

Buzz Knight 00:00:29

All right. So I’m an old poetry fan from way back. Ready?

Bill Lee 00:00:33


Buzz Knight 00:00:33

Okay. And you jump right in whenever you want.

Bill Lee 00:00:36

Bang, bang, shoot them up destiny bang bang, shoot them up to the moon bang, bang, shoot them up 123-1234 I want to be a Space Man, Harry Nillson one of my freaking soulmates from La.

Buzz Knight 00:00:55

Oh, my God, what a way to start to Take a Walk podcast with Bill winning. You win a prize.

Bill Lee 00:01:01

Well, I don’t win a prize. I just pitched when they brought me to the mound in Kansas City three weeks ago with Jane Leavy, the great author from the Washington Post. They brought me out. I grabbed a Budweiser from a fan in the front row. I chugged down the top of Budweiser Light. Flipped it over my shoulder. Went out on the field. Did my stretches. Did my bend down. Did my round kick up over my head. Got ready and then bang.

Buzz Knight 00:01:29


Bill Lee 00:01:30

Shoot them up. Destiny they played the song. And I was 17 years old again. And I threw the shit out of the ball and won the ball game.

Buzz Knight 00:01:37

I love it. Is that one of the greatest songs ever, too?

Bill Lee 00:01:40

It’s one of the greatest songs. All of us, the most beautiful world in the world. And joy to the world was a beautiful girl. But to me, joy meant only sorrow. His songs are just like Frank Zappa. They’re ahead of their time. He was probably the greatest songwriter. And then Zevon came along and became one of my best friends near the end of his life. And the Zevon family, the daughters and son, live on Route 14 in Vermont, and I live on Route 14 in Vermont.

Buzz Knight 00:02:17


Bill Lee 00:02:18

How the coincidence come about? His father was a riverboat gambler he was the son of a riverboat gambler and from the south and I end up in the north with his daughter and son. And all of my kids live in the south. I’m going the guy, whoever she is that controls the universe yes, she’s one funny lady. Now.

Buzz Knight 00:02:49

Did you know Harry Nillson?

Bill Lee 00:02:51

I never met Harry, but I loved his music from the get go. And that’s been the theme of my radio show in Montreal for 40 years. I start out every 420. That’s what I do. 420 is my spot on radio in Montreal.

Buzz Knight 00:03:08

What station?

Bill Lee 00:03:09

It’s 690. It’s Mitch Melnick show, and it’s called Answers From Space.

Buzz Knight 00:03:15

I love it.

Bill Lee 00:03:16

And I’ve been doing it for 40 years. It’s probably the most listened to show in all of Montreal. I was on for 20 minutes just yesterday talking about doing a tour of the Quebec All Star. Old timers are touring Quebec in July and early August, and then I’ll go down and pitch for the Savannah Bananas in late August and September, and then I’m done for the year. And I don’t know where I’m going to go, but I think I want to tour Canada on a train and go across on via rail and play ball all the way across Canada with the Savannah Bananas and promote this new form of baseball, which is really exciting. It’s quick and it’s not boring like real baseball.

Buzz Knight 00:04:05

What are the differences?

Bill Lee 00:04:07

There’s no stepping out of the batter’s box. There’s no mound visits. You’re not allowed to bunt. You can steal first base any time you want, but you got to make it. If the ball gets by the catcher, you can get it. If you walk, you don’t walk. You run to first as fast as you can and go to second. And every player on the opposing team defense has to touch the ball before they can tag you out. So it’s a rapid, quick game. We take a baby out of the stands, an eight month old baby. We wrap it in a banana leaf and we pray to the gods before the game. It’s hilarious. We got guys on stilts. We have 65 year old women called Bananas that party and dance with us. It’s funny. And we were on Sunday Morning CBS with Jane Pauley two Sundays ago. So even little old couples from Nebraska know where we are.

Buzz Knight 00:04:58

I love the one video I saw where you were in the stands drinking the beer, and then you get called in, throw the beer can over.

Bill Lee 00:05:09

Right? That was Kansas City. That was recently.

Buzz Knight 00:05:11

Kansas City one.

Bill Lee 00:05:12

That was the last one they probably show.

Buzz Knight 00:05:14

Oh, my God, how triumphant is that?

Bill Lee 00:05:17

Describe the feeling when being 17 again. There’s nothing better. You’re 75 is for a brief moment in history, you’re 17 again.

Buzz Knight 00:05:28

But I feel that’s every day for you.

Bill Lee 00:05:31

I try to make it every day. Today you saw how you first met me. First time I’m sitting down, sanding a piece of wood and holding court with a bunch of fans that come in there. See, this is working class America. You’re in the bowels of Fall River where the waters fall down and the mills began. The first was Slater’s Mill in Rhode Island, and my book publisher is right by that mill. So I write at one mill and I make wood at another mill, right? And then I’ll go out and play against the police and fire department, and I was just a major unionist. I am Eugene Debs. I am the Eugene Debs, the Socialist party that ran for President and got 7 million votes. And I will be back. Eugene is coming back. Google’s starting to unionize. Amazon’s going to unionize, and Apple is going to unionize. And that’ll be the future. And the workers of the world will gain a little bit more recognition and will spread the wealth around. Money is like, manure, it’s only good if you spread it thinly on the field. You don’t want to concentrate it in one area, because that’s where the beef cattle are on the side of the road on Interstate Five in California up near Bakersfield. And they stand on 12ft of their own shit. And then you eat them at McDonald’s.

Buzz Knight 00:07:02

Oh, yeah.

Bill Lee 00:07:03

That’s the worst McDonald’s commercial I ever did, right here on your show.

Buzz Knight 00:07:13

All right, so back to that feeling when you race out, whether you’re 17 or 75. Describe how it feels when you’re racing or being carted to the mound. Right.

Bill Lee 00:07:25

Well, what’s it like? You’re in a potential situation where you can die because you’re 60ft, six inches away from a grandchild that’s swinging a wood bat and hitting a ball 112 miles an hour back at you from 60ft away. Right. So every time you go to the mound, you’re facing death, potential death. So when you succeed and come back and win, you’ve achieved a great accomplishment that you get to live another day.

Buzz Knight 00:07:57

And it’s electrifying, isn’t it?

Bill Lee 00:07:59


Buzz Knight 00:08:00

Yeah, right? It never gets old.

Bill Lee 00:08:02

It’s like little big man Dustin Hoffman when he goes to Chief Dan George, and he goes, It’s a good day to die, Grandfather. It’s a good day to die. And you live your life. You wake up, you’re already dead. In the Band of brothers, when the guy ran through the hail of fire and came back and ran back through it again, he told him, when you were over in Germany, in France and fighting the Germans, you have to have the opinion that you’re already dead or you will not live like that.

Buzz Knight 00:08:36

I love it. Do you think about some of your nemesis that you’ve faced over your career and wish you had that moment to get back and pitch to whomever again?

Bill Lee 00:08:48

Oh, yeah. I’ll show you. Here’s the best example I have right here in my back pocket. $10 bills. Jackson the day keeps the doctor away. No. I open up my wallet and I pull out 50 year old Craig Nettles baseball card right there that I’ve kept laminated. Craig Nettles is up against the right cheek of my ass for 50 years. The smell and the view do not improve for that son of a bitch. So every day he’s right there. So I carry him around because he’s the guy who threw me to the ground in 76 in the brawl. So, yeah, I do hold grudges.

Buzz Knight 00:09:45

Have you ever run into him anywhere?

Bill Lee 00:09:47

Oh, lots of times. The last time was at a rivalry thing between him, and he looked pretty good. The time before, he sat down and he looked like Benjamin Button getting smaller and smaller. And I said, Jesus Christ, I crap bigger than you now. He said, you look like a due date.

Buzz Knight 00:10:12

So that what did he say?

Bill Lee 00:10:16

Nothing. He had to take it. He doesn’t respond because he was below me and I was above him. And if he got out of the chair he would have been cold cocked.

Buzz Knight 00:10:25

Well, he’s not the only one, though, by the.

Bill Lee 00:10:30

Way, my sister in law, if she caught on fire, I wouldn’t x$ on her to put her out.

Buzz Knight 00:10:41

But if all of the Craig Nettles cards from all these other players were.

Bill Lee 00:10:46

In your freaking wallet, you’d be like.

Buzz Knight 00:10:49

George Costanzo with the wallet that broke your back.

Bill Lee 00:10:52

Exactly. If you seek revenge, take two graves. Lao Tzu

Buzz Knight 00:10:58


Bill Lee 00:10:59

And all great leaders, when everything is said and done, the workers say, we did her ourselves. And that’s Lao Tzu too. And I’m a firm believer in Zen Buddhism and yoga and relaxation.

Buzz Knight 00:11:15

That’s for you, by the way.

Bill Lee 00:11:17

Oh, my God. That’s the chance.

Buzz Knight 00:11:21

Yeah. Thich Nhat Hanh He died about three months ago at 95.

Bill Lee 00:11:29

40 year old bricks.

Buzz Knight 00:11:31

Oh, look at that.

Bill Lee 00:11:32


Buzz Knight 00:11:33


Bill Lee 00:11:33

Repaired five times. Well, thank you for that.

Buzz Knight 00:11:39

There you go. That’s my token of appreciation.

Bill Lee 00:11:42

Well, this follows right In Line with Connections, which is a great TV show by a guy on PBS. I can’t think of his name right now, but he had a show where everything is connected. I mean, all these trees are connected.

Buzz Knight 00:12:01

Yeah. Describe the scene right now.

Bill Lee 00:12:03

Well, every time I see a tree, I think it’s a woman buried upside down. If there’s two limbs and then you look and I look, and I’m going, wow, those are nice legs. I don’t know what the upper part of her body looks like.

Buzz Knight 00:12:23

It’s something about the salt air and the rock.

Bill Lee 00:12:26

I love rocks. I’ll show you what the best thing I’ll show you the best thing about a rock. That’s a nice one, too. Yeah, that’s a nice one. Got to like it on it. But this one is granite. It’s pink orthoclase granite, and it’s from New Hampshire. And you stretch and push, and when you push on it hard and relax and lean forward, you think you’re moving the rocks. Your muscles are expanding and stretching, but it gives you the sensation that you’re not moving. The rock is moving.

Buzz Knight 00:13:10

Oh, wow.

Bill Lee 00:13:11

What you’re doing is you’re doing a yoga contraction in breath. And this is what allows you to keep pitching at the age of 75.

Buzz Knight 00:13:20

There you go.

Bill Lee 00:13:21

It’s all yoga. It’s all stretching. And then you can sit here and contemplate everything. People don’t do this. Walt Whitman leaves of Grass. Baseball is a sport, an American sport that will invigorate the youth and let them get out and breathe fresh air. He said that a long time ago in Leaves of Grass.

Buzz Knight 00:13:45

Yeah. Beautiful.

Bill Lee 00:13:46

He went to baseball games. And my wine partner is Jeff Whitman. A great great nephew of his and I make wine with him.

Buzz Knight 00:13:56

And where can folks get that wine?

Bill Lee 00:13:59

It’ll be out in the shelves next fall. It’s called Spaceman Red. There’ll be a thousand cases of it. The Vermont I mean, the New Hampshire Liquor Store. And I’ll be there selling it on the side of the road.

Buzz Knight 00:14:12

Right on the side?

Bill Lee 00:14:13

Right on the side of the road. Coming by. If you buy a case of wine, you get a free bat. That’s the promotion thing. I did it with the other wine.

Buzz Knight 00:14:23

Nice stuff. Did you ever forgive Don Zimmer?

Bill Lee 00:14:28

No, but I’m getting close. I found out later that his wife was signing everything because he couldn’t write and he had three holes in the left side of his head from being beamed and he had one hole in the right side. And I was wondering what that one hole was all about on the right side and I thought maybe it’s to let the light out. But maybe not.

Buzz Knight 00:14:54

Maybe not.

Bill Lee 00:14:57

He was a pain in the ass.

Buzz Knight 00:14:59

Notoriously, right, tourists.

Bill Lee 00:15:01

He was a gambler and everything else. And him and Joe Mooney, the equipment man they would send the clubhouse boys over to the track over there and revere Wonderland and they pace all their bets on the dogs and stuff. And it was sad, but he got a good job with the Yankees after he got rid of me. And he threw a 14 game lead which has never been done in the American League East a long time ago. And he really had it in for me. And when I was selling bats with Louis Le Dew down in Florida, he saw me and he stumbled and he backed up and got into a golf cart and drove away. And I think he died a day later or something like that. He saw the devil. But Lori Cabot, the witch in Salem is a good, close friend of mine, Paul Poyer. And I believe I have a little of that druid spirit in me that scares the shit out of people because I can wiggle my finger like that, like Hannibal Lecter. And they drop all around me like house flies.

Buzz Knight 00:16:09

It’s very powerful. It really is.

Bill Lee 00:16:12

It is.

Buzz Knight 00:16:13

You made reference to the way the game is played now with the changes that the Savannah bananas are able to be part of. So talk about the state of the game today.

Bill Lee 00:16:23

It’s terrible. It’s all specialized. It’s based on numerology. It’s Bill James. I agree. Status statistics. Statistics. Damn statistics. You’ve got to do it. But in a case of a close game you have to go against the grain and hit the ball the other way. Lay down a bunt, do something exceptional and out of the ordinary or you’re not going to win the game. If you hit into everybody’s trap just based on your statistics then you’re like Ted Williams, who was arrogant and tried to pull the ball all the time. But I found out he didn’t. He was a great hitter with two strikes and he didn’t cut his swing down and he put the ball in play. And that’s why he’s the greatest hitter that ever lived. But he was also the greatest hitter that ever lived. And I found out because he hit on all three of my wives. He hit on Mary Lou, Pam and Diana in a wheelchair. The guy is living. He was the best hitter that ever lived.

Buzz Knight 00:17:24

Oh, my God.

Bill Lee 00:17:27

Now you know the rest of the story. Good day.

Buzz Knight 00:17:30

Isn’t he frozen in his head?

Bill Lee 00:17:33

His head. Maureen Cronin wanted me to go save him and bring him back for a funeral on Cape Cod. I said the Viking funeral. She said, yeah, that’d be nice. I said, Where are you going to find three virgins? Oh, my God.

Buzz Knight 00:17:55

Isn’t it great to laugh?

Bill Lee 00:17:56

It’s great. It is the best medicine.

Buzz Knight 00:17:59

It’s unbelievable.

Bill Lee 00:18:01

There’s nothing better. Nothing produces more good feeling. It’s amazing.

Buzz Knight 00:18:07

I am the luckiest guy being here with you taking in the sights and the sounds of Bill Lee.

Bill Lee 00:18:15

It’s a great place. You can hear a single in the background. You can hear the roar over the bridge of all the people trying to get the Cape Cod. And you don’t have to. You could be sitting on this rock right here. People are in a hurry to get places that they don’t really want to go. I don’t understand.

Buzz Knight 00:18:34

It okay. I have another thing I don’t understand. Everybody’s talking now.

Bill Lee 00:18:38

How everybody’s talking now? That’s Harry Nillson

Buzz Knight 00:18:42

That’s right.

Bill Lee 00:18:44

You know what that song was?

Buzz Knight 00:18:46


Bill Lee 00:18:46

Yeah, that was the Midnight Cowboy. That’s right. Dylan was supposed to write the song.

Buzz Knight 00:18:51

I’m walking here.

Bill Lee 00:18:55

I’m falling apart here. Is that amazing? It’s amazing how we tie it together.

Buzz Knight 00:19:04

Everything has a thread.

Bill Lee 00:19:05

It’s all about Harry.

Buzz Knight 00:19:06

All about Harry.

Bill Lee 00:19:08

Do you know the first comedy Hitchcock ever wrote? No Troubles with Harry, filmed in Craftsbury, Vermont, where I have lived for 33 years.

Buzz Knight 00:19:17

Holy mackerel.

Bill Lee 00:19:18

And it became weekend at Bernie’s is the remake. But the original was in 1955 with Shirley McClaine, Theodore Cleaver and can’t think of the guy in the star. He was great. It’s all about a guy. They think they killed him and they keep digging him up and reburied them and stuff. It’s an Alfred Hitchcock comedy.

Buzz Knight 00:19:39

They should do a weekend in Bernie’s remake with Bernie Sanders.

Bill Lee 00:19:43

What do you say? Bernie is a lot like Mel Brooks, but he’s not nearly as funny. But the meaning of life in Mel Brooks is Spaceballs. It’s moisting, but he plays all ends of the fiddle. He’s great for the veterans. He’s great there. But he takes money from Monsanto and he takes things. And he killed seven Philadelphia Philly pictures. You can look it up all in their fifty s. Oh, man. Oh, God. Tug McGraw. Ken Brett. Rheal Cormier Vukovich. All these guys. Catchers pictures. Gary Carter, they all died from, I believe, the fumes that come off of Astro turf. So he takes money from everybody. You know what I’m saying?

Buzz Knight 00:20:37


Bill Lee 00:20:38

And that’s what’s wrong with our when I ran for President in 88 on the Rhinoceros ticket against Bill Clinton, I only accepted a quarter because it’s a two bit office.

Buzz Knight 00:20:49

Who would want to run?

Bill Lee 00:20:52

Well, you got to get someone out there that has his hands in his own pockets. That’s what it is. And look at our freaking Supreme Court now, dropping a law in New York after all these people got killed in Buffalo and stuff, instead of really ratcheting down the laws on guns. The trouble is, there’s too many crazies out there, and they’re loaded.

Buzz Knight 00:21:20

And today the day we’re recording this. The official announcement on Roe versus Wade came out as well.

Bill Lee 00:21:28

Oh, I didn’t know that.

Buzz Knight 00:21:29

We knew it was going to happen.

Bill Lee 00:21:30

I knew. Well, I got into a fight with a guy in a Dodge. He had a flag on it, and it said, let’s go, Brandon. And I slowed down and flipped him off, and he got mad in his car. But he doesn’t realize Brandon is my grandson. The pedophile. See, I get in fights just by driving down the highway.

Buzz Knight 00:21:54


Bill Lee 00:21:54

If I see something bad, I get into it. If you say something, I say something. It’s amazing. And I’m still alive.

Buzz Knight 00:22:02

But I was talking now about how the roads are all packed, right? There’s traffic, and all we hear about is employers can’t find people to take jobs where I sound like Jerry Seinfeld. Where are all these people going?

Bill Lee 00:22:17

They’re going to Costco. Amazing. They’re going to Walmart. They don’t realize that all these giant things Home Depot put away the little man. They put away the small entrepreneurial spirit of America, and they’ve fallen into this trap that’s going to kill him in the long run. I see no hope for this planet if sea levels rising at the rate that it’s doing. And these giant droughts are happening in the west, of course you get them about every thousand years. But I got a feeling Yellowstone is going to blow because of the movie by Woody Harrelson 2012. They’re playing it way too much. It’s Hollywood’s way of saying we’re fun, right?

Buzz Knight 00:23:04

And they know how to say it.

Bill Lee 00:23:05

You know what? Artificial intelligence. I didn’t believe in artificial intelligence until Star Wars came out and I realized the droids are a lot smarter than the humans.

Buzz Knight 00:23:15

There you go. Amen.

Bill Lee 00:23:17


Buzz Knight 00:23:17

Show me that place where the bands playing. Over here? Okay.

Bill Lee 00:23:20

Yeah, that’s good.

Buzz Knight 00:23:22

There’s a concert coming up here.

Bill Lee 00:23:24

That’s good. You got to do I’ve got to get back to work, too.

Buzz Knight 00:23:29

We’re going to walk through briefly where I first met you inside the Axis Bat factory.

Bill Lee 00:23:35

That’s true.

Buzz Knight 00:23:37

When I walked in, you look like you were that could have been heaven right there.

Bill Lee 00:23:42

It is heaven. There’s nothing better than being 75 and sporting a woody.

Buzz Knight 00:23:51

Beautiful. It’s awesome, right?

Bill Lee 00:23:54

Yeah, there’s nothing better. I tell Louie the other day, he says, we got to find a new wood to use. And his name is Louie Ledoux. And I said well, I said, there’s French oak that’s in the oak barrels. And he goes he says, you lift anything heavy like that? He says, Only when I take a leak. All right, Louie Ledoux Of course, it’s got to be French.

Buzz Knight 00:24:21

So what is this place? This is it boneheads.

Bill Lee 00:24:26

Boneheads. I turned it in. This is going to get torn down. This will be a park. This will be a beautiful area in Fall River. The key is these old mill towns will become places and destinations to go. We got to be more walking, more ambulatory, more fresh air.

Buzz Knight 00:24:46

And you like walking?

Bill Lee 00:24:47

I walk all the time.

Buzz Knight 00:24:49

Yeah. What were your favorite places in Boston to walk when you were running for.

Bill Lee 00:24:53

to the Elliott Lounge?

Buzz Knight 00:24:55

There you go.

Bill Lee 00:24:56

Yeah, I walk to the Elliott Lounge all the time. I used to run 6 miles every day from Belmont, my duplex in Belmont, all the way along the Charles River, go through Bu, come in and pitch and go nine innings. I had 73 complete games in three years. It’s amazing.

Buzz Knight 00:25:17

Think about that now.

Bill Lee 00:25:18

Think about that now, right?

Buzz Knight 00:25:21

What are the pitches you’re throwing?

Bill Lee 00:25:23

Strikes. Just work fast. Throw strikes, change speed, change speed, throw strikes, change the aisle of elevation on the hitter and control the tempo of the game. That’s the key. The key is throwing strikes and having a lot of young, great outfielders and infielders. And they know every pitch I throw is going to be put in play. So they’re ready. That’s the key. I can’t believe Frank Zappa is going to be here. I’m going to miss him.

Buzz Knight 00:25:51

Frank Zappa’s band right here. Wow. You crushed me at the Lowell Spinners Park when you threw some batting practice to a bunch of us. Killed me. He just destroyed me.

Bill Lee 00:26:04


Buzz Knight 00:26:04

I thought I could hit something and you just had me flumxed, man.

Bill Lee 00:26:12

I flumxed everybody.

Buzz Knight 00:26:13

It’s completely flummoxed.

Bill Lee 00:26:14

Evil Louis, when he tells the story about me pitching to him, he said he never seen anybody command. I don’t have really good stuff. You’re looking for something? But I’m a huge fan. I saw your documentary. Could I get a quick picture with you? Sure you can. Awesome. When you walked by getting a haircut in the bottle shop, and I said, no way.

Buzz Knight 00:26:41

What’s your name? Adam. We’re doing a podcast.

Bill Lee 00:26:44

This is good. You’re right.

Buzz Knight 00:26:45

You’re part of it.

Bill Lee 00:26:47

You all believe it. I’m wearing my yellow Savannah banana outfit like that, and people are pulling off the road and running across four lanes of traffic. And I’m going, this has got to stop or I’m going to have a lot of young kids skills. Honestly, my favorite part about the documentary. I have a lot of anxiety. It’s very calming to me, especially when you’re working out with The Rock and stuff like that. In Cuba, that was so like oh, and I love baseball. Good.

Buzz Knight 00:27:17

I took a walk with them.

Bill Lee 00:27:20

My wife doesn’t want to believe this.

Buzz Knight 00:27:23

Thank you, sir.

Bill Lee 00:27:24

Nice haircut.

Buzz Knight 00:27:25

Thank you.

Bill Lee 00:27:26

What’s your name?

Buzz Knight 00:27:27

My name is Buzz Knight.

Bill Lee 00:27:28

Nice to meet you.

Buzz Knight 00:27:29

Taking a walk? You know what? Here you go. I’ll do a little plug.

Bill Lee 00:27:32


Buzz Knight 00:27:33

Here you go. There’s the podcast.

Bill Lee 00:27:35


Buzz Knight 00:27:36

So I can listen to it eventually.

Bill Lee 00:27:37

Thank you.

Buzz Knight 00:27:38

It takes a little while. Wow.

Bill Lee 00:27:40

I’m blown away right now. I’m playing tonight in Rhode Island. Yes. Smithfield? Yeah. Just against the cops. Yeah, police department. Don’t worry. I’ll be around. You bet.

Buzz Knight 00:27:54

Oh, that’s awesome. So you love that when that happens. That happens all the time, right?

Bill Lee 00:27:58

Happens all the time. More so now than ever before. The best is when I got pulled over by a state trooper about three years ago at the beginning of Covid. I’m out in the fast lane in the Buick, heading south. Traffic is coming in during the commute, and the state, he comes barely out of the exit over there at Andrews or wherever, something like that. And he comes out, and I can see him moving left towards me. So I slow down, I let him have my spot in the lane, and I move right and follow in his footsteps and pass him and go up in the slow lane all the way up. Next thing you know, he turns his light on, he comes after me, he pulls me over and he goes, sir, you’re a very aggressive driver. I said, I saw you all the way. And how else do you win 94 games in this town? I said, you came out here and got stuck, and I went there because I could see the goddamn road. And do you see the MP hat in the back of my car? Don’t ever pull over an MP. I’m the guy who puts you in jail. I kind of went a little too far, but x$ it.

Buzz Knight 00:29:18

Did you ever think in your life you would live to see marijuana legal and gambling legal? No.

Bill Lee 00:29:28

Way. What happened to all my bookie friends? They were great guys. They’d always ask me I used to get a call up all the time from bookies asking me how I feel the day before I pitch. Really? And I’d be shit facing everything else. I go, I feel great. And the cannabis part, what are you yes, exactly. I said, Shit, I threw some of my best games on weed. I beat Seattle one time and didn’t throw them all over 55 miles an hour.

Buzz Knight 00:30:06

Who was the toughest out?

Bill Lee 00:30:08

Bill Matlock. Little short pudgy guy from Texas. Rangers. And then he was with Pittsburgh Pirates. He won the national batting championship four years in a row. That was late in my career. Early in my career was Tony Oliva. Oliva wore me out. Yeah. Two home runs off me in one game, and none of them were strikes.

Buzz Knight 00:30:29

Really? Yeah.

Bill Lee 00:30:30

I found out the only way to get him out is throwing a fastball right down the middle. He’ll hit 400ft to center, but it won’t go out.

Buzz Knight 00:30:36

I remember he had that thing he used to do that way he sort of flung the bat right.

Bill Lee 00:30:40

Always beautiful swing.

Buzz Knight 00:30:42

And he had those the batting gloves, too.

Bill Lee 00:30:44

Yoga clothes.

Buzz Knight 00:30:45

You want to go into a yoga class?

Bill Lee 00:30:48

Makes perfect sense after this.

Buzz Knight 00:30:50

All right, so we’re walking into the.

Bill Lee 00:30:52

Pro bat baseball bat factory. Louis LeDoux Axis sports. Used to be Nokona, but we’re back.

Buzz Knight 00:30:59

This is where it all began. Right. So tell me about the factory.

Bill Lee 00:31:05

Look at these old wood. This is smelted Maple, and I sanded it down really soft there. And I told him, if you make smelted maple bass, you can sell those for $200, too. We’re doing a podcast walking down the street. Did you know that? Buzz Knight. Buzz.

Buzz Knight 00:31:24

How are you?

Bill Lee 00:31:25

He’s my co writer.

Buzz Knight 00:31:26

I’m sorry. What’s your name?

Bill Lee 00:31:27

Scott Russell.

Buzz Knight 00:31:29

Hi, Scott. Nice to meet you. We’re on the taken a walk podcast.

Bill Lee 00:31:34

I love it.

Buzz Knight 00:31:36

Hi, nice to meet you. Hi, Peg.

Bill Lee 00:31:40


Buzz Knight 00:31:40

Nice to meet you.

Bill Lee 00:31:42

This is our book. That’s our next to last book.

Buzz Knight 00:31:45


Bill Lee 00:31:46

And then that look at these are the ones I picked last time. He never got them back to his room. I got to give him shit for that. So that’s felt in maple. And these are all pallets that the wood comes in on. And we break them down and we make tables at them. So we use everything. Nothing leaves here except maybe sawdust, and that uses that for bedding for chickens and cows. But the rest of it is totally organic.

Buzz Knight 00:32:13

Look at this. The scene in here has how many bats ready to be shipped out? Probably just thousands. Right.

Bill Lee 00:32:23

Those over here? No, they’re all over the place. These are comps that come in. These are eight comps, but we get them. When they’re all roughed up, we get them. But this turns out then we can find a really good bat in here. We have all different types.

Buzz Knight 00:32:43

Was it Big Papi picking bats from here?

Bill Lee 00:32:45

For a while we were Nokona. He swung a Nokona bat that we made. I’ve got one, I think, in the truck. But if you look over there, that’s all yellow birch on that side. It’s on there.

Buzz Knight 00:32:57

The smell is outstanding.

Bill Lee 00:32:59

Yeah. Come over here. Wow. This is the CC copier that turns them. That thing right there goes in. This is a piece of ash. It’s the hardest thing to find in New England now, is a good piece of ash.

Buzz Knight 00:33:23

I knew what was happening there. I knew what was happening. You might think. I looked up.

Bill Lee 00:33:33

No, it’s palate. That’s maple. Sometimes they got cherry in here. That looks like maple, though. I said your pallet wood is gorgeous. Every piece of pallet wood is a table. We got to get more people working in my sons.

Buzz Knight 00:33:54

This is beautiful here. This is amazing.

Bill Lee 00:33:57

We had a good walk.

Buzz Knight 00:33:59

This is the microphone and it’s okay. Everything’s good. Well, we had a great walk. Bill, I’m going to leave you to your important tasks at hand. What’s on your agenda the rest of the day?

Bill Lee 00:34:10

I have to go pitch against the cops in Smithfield, Rhode Island. I have to drive all the way home, get home at one in the morning. I got to pick peonies when I get home and put them in a base for my wife because they’re starting to droop. And then tomorrow I get up early and I go and have three cups of coffee to sodium naproxen. I leave and then I go pitch against the number one team in the state, Randolph. And if I win, I’m going to have a beer and if I lose, I’m going to have a beer. And then the next morning I’ll be on the road. I’m going to drive 700 miles to Elkart, Indiana, where they make winnebagos, and then I’m going to sleep on the side of the road for about 4 hours and then end up in Okajobi in the Lake area of Iowa. Pitching on Tuesday, the Road Warrior Bill Lee. Thank you.

Buzz Knight 00:35:06

Thanks for taking a walk. This has been so much fun. I think I hurt myself a couple of times.

Bill Lee 00:35:11

No, you do. Can laugh, I’ll tell you that. Send me a copy of that and send it to all my kids. Taking a Walk with Buzz Knight is available on Spotify, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

About The Author

Buzz Knight

Buzz Knight is an established media executive with a long history of content creation and multi-platform distribution.

After a successful career as a Radio Executive, he formed Buzz Knight Media which focuses on strategic guidance and the development of new original content.