Bat flips and big screens

 A home away from home

In the Disney movie, "Finding Dory" the forgetful blue fish remembers she grew up in "the Jewel of Morro Bay California". She eventually gets there with the help of friends and strangers along the way. While I enjoyed the movie and loved the shout out to Morro Bay, I was disappointed that the "jewel" turned out to be an aquarium very loosely based on the one in Monterey (about 100 miles north). The setting in the film was fine, but so many of the well known features of the small coastal town were absent. The volcanic plug nestled on the edge of the ocean known as Morro Rock, the breakers that create the harbor, the docks lined with fishing boats, the Embarcadero where you can't miss having a good time or even the 3 large smoke stacks that are unmistakable along the harbor skyline. Disney definitely struck out on some amazing visuals to feature. 

A bit farther inland, along Highway 1, sits the true "jewel" for those that love baseball. Located at 220 Atascadero Rd, sits Flippos. Decades ago, this building used to be a place for locals to come, put on their roller skates and wheel around with friends and music. It was a great place for families or teens to go to enjoy a night out. I spent plenty of evenings there in my younger years, escaping the inland heat and trying not to fall over and get laughed at by the pretty ladies. Sadly, the roller rink closed down many years ago, to the sadness of many. The building sat empty, sleeping for over a decade...until recently. 

This last summer, Flippos woke up. Re-imagined and reopened under the same name, with the same vision of a place for locals and visitors to enjoy. Instead of roller skates, baseballs and bats fill the building with sound and activity for the community. 6 lanes of batting cages stand ready to test your hitting skills, allow you to work on your swing and build yourself into a slugger. 1 slow pitch softball lane, 1 slow or fast pitch hybrid lane and 4 baseball lanes are available. Automatic pitching machines are set up in every lane,, but L screens are available if you prefer to have a partner throw to you. Lane 4 is my favorite, as it has the Hittrax system installed which can be used to bring your hitting experience to a new level. I bring friends and teammates there as often as possible.

But Flippos is not just for ball players. Their mission is to be an asset for the community. A place for adults, teens and kids to have a place to feel free and entertained. Besides the batting cages,  there are 2 pool tables, Foosball, 4 cornhole stations, giant jenga, big screen TVs everywhere and plenty of seating. And they aren't finished with adding features either. 

In the lobby, there's the Flippos Cafe. Ok, my mouth is watering. There you can get standard ballpark fare such as popcorn, nachos or hotdogs. But if you want more of a meal, they've got you covered. From burgers, tritip and chicken sandwiches, to salads you can walk away satisfied. My kids love it, and they are as picky as they come. I haven't tried everything yet, but I've only gone every week for the past 5 months (yeah they have a solid menu). 

One of the best things about Flippos is, when possible, they go local. Many of the menu items are locally sourced, from the bread and veggies, to the ice cream, to the beer and wine selection. Seriously the ice cream is reason enough to go there. 

And when you walk up to the desk to get your batting lane, there are plenty of standard bats available for you to use. BUT featured as well is....<drum roll>...a whole stack of 805 bats for you to try out. These bats were custom made for batting cage use at Flippos. Crafted from high density wood to better be able to take the abuse of repetitive cage use, these 805s are waiting for you to get the "wood bat" experience when hitting. Youth, adult and heavy training bats are there for you to try out. Yes, wood bats for public use in a cage is risky, but Flippos and I both know the beating these bats can and do take on a daily basis and we still want you swinging them. 

I'm there almost every Saturday around 4. I've got to keep working on my own swing. If you come in around then,  I always have my bag of personal bats with me. I'm not shy about letting others take them for a spin. 

I've been to many batting cages over time. Most fall into 2 categories. The first type is for the serious player, they are streamlined for baseball and only baseball. I'll never complain about that, but they can have a stale feel. At the other type, hitting is a bit of an after thought. Usually in a gym or at a family fun center, you can hit but it's more for entertainment. Flippos brings both of these concepts into one place. It's an asset for someone that just wants to create the perfect swing. There's even coaching available. But it's also not stale and oneminded. You can bring the whole family in and everyone can enjoy their time there. 

So if you live in the 805 or are just visiting the central coast, you can't go wrong checking out this jewel in an area full of gems.


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