Middletown Native Greg Galiette Is Living His Dream As Senior Vice President of the Louisville Bats
Writer / Carrie Vittitoe
The Middletown of 2019 is vastly different from the Middletown of the mid-1950s. Where a drive down Shelbyville Road now takes you past gas stations, restaurants, boutiques, big box stores and frequently through mind-boggling traffic. A drive in the 50s and 60s might have seemed downright idyllic: farmland dotted with sheep or cows, widely spaced utility poles, a hardware store, a diner, and a Hudson Wasp or Simca Vedette rambling down the road.
“I actually have photos of our house down on Westwood. You could see all the way up to the high school because a lot of the houses up toward that part of the subdivision hadn’t been built yet,” he says. “I remember going to St. Matthews for grocery shopping because there was no grocery in Middletown at the time.”
He would often ride his bike the six miles to Floyd’s Fork to fish or hang out at Wish’s Drugs, where he and his friends would buy candy, soft drinks, or baseball cards. He eventually worked as a lifeguard at Cox’s Lake and would ride his bike to work.
“Obviously, you don’t dare do that now with the traffic,” he says. “It shows you how quiet Middletown was back then.”
Galiette recalls how the children of Woodland Hills would have basketball tournaments in which kids from one street would compete against children from another street. It wasn’t unusual during the summer for 15-20 kids, ranging in age from elementary to high school, to play softball games. Galiette would frequently play in the creek behind his house where he would catch crawdads and salamanders.
He attended Hite Elementary and distinctly recalls his first day of first grade. His father had died from Hodgkin’s lymphoma when Galiette was only five years old, and he remembers, “I did not want to be at school.” His mom had driven him that morning, but it was close enough to walk home so he simply left school and beat his mother home.
“I was waiting for her on my front porch when she pulled in,” he says. “She was not happy.”
He spent the remainder of his years at Hite walking to and from school each day, and then did the same to Eastern, which, prior to Crosby Middle School’s construction, was for students in grades 7-12.
His mother was a professional artist but sometimes worked as a substitute teacher at Eastern High School. He remembers a day during his senior year when his mom subbed in his accounting class, which his friends greeted with delight.
“They thought they would get away with murder,” he says, but his mom had different plans. “A lot of them cut the class, and my mom turned them in. They thought, ‘There’s no way Mrs. Galiette’s going to turn us in.’ My friends did not like me for about two months.”
Galiette has always loved sports, from the neighborhood pickup games to basketball in junior high. His first love, though, was football, but four broken bones in youth league, including in his wrist, put an end to that sport. He was on the Eastern varsity track team as a seventh grader and was talented enough in discus and javelin to earn a partial scholarship to the University of Louisville.
“I finished second in the state in discus my senior year,” he says. Despite his past wrist injuries, Galiette says weight-lifting in high school helped build strength in his arms and wrists.
“I could always throw things,” he says. “It always came easy to me.”
Not only did Galiette succeed in sports at Eastern, he also ended up meeting his wife, Kelly, while there, although he admits she dated one of his best friends. Galiette waited about a year after their breakup before asking her out.
He entered the University of Louisville with the intention of being pre-law, but switched to political science and finally landed on business with an emphasis in marketing. During his time at U of L, he continued to date Kelly and lived at home with his mom. In addition to studying, he worked three jobs during his junior and senior years. He worked at Country Animal Hospital, American Fitness as a personal fitness instructor, and as a gym manager at Gold’s Gym in New Albany, Indiana.
“The days were pretty long,” he says. “I’d pack a huge cooler each day and start driving.”
Galiette always dreamed of working in professional sports and even had a family connection.
“My uncle was the play-by-play voice of Yale football for 33 years and was on ESPN for a few years when they first came on in the late 70s,” he says.
After graduating from U of L, he began a job at Xerox in sales, but says “I was already starting to pester A. Ray Smith, the gentleman who brought professional baseball back to Louisville in 1982, and I guess I finally wore him down,” he says.
In the fall of 1984, Galiette became a sales intern for the Redbirds. His family thought he was nuts because he took a sizable pay cut from his position at Xerox, but after more than three decades, he is glad he took the leap to chase his dream.
Galiette is in his 35th year with the Louisville Bats Baseball Club and has “done just about everything” for the organization, from season ticket group sales to assistant general manager to senior vice president.
“I was even the ticket office manager for a few years at Cardinal Stadium and have some great memories from there when we had the Grateful Dead concert and the Rolling Stones,” he says.
For a time, the organization owned both the baseball team and a professional hockey team called the Louisville Riverfrogs. Even though Galiette and his colleagues loved it, they worked constantly. Since selling the hockey franchise, they’ve strictly focused on baseball.
During the off-season, Galiette says he sells ads and works on sponsorships, while during the regular season, he is the face and voice of the Bats. He serves as a liaison between the front office and the coaches and team. He is also responsible for putting together a promotional schedule.
“Never is one day the same as the other,” he says.
Some weeks he puts in 85-90 hours a week in the summertime.
“I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful wife who’s very understanding,” he says.
Although it has been many years since Galiette has lived in Middletown, his memories of the town are vivid, and it continues to hold a special place for him. Middletown shaped his childhood and helped him become the person he is today.