I also have a memory of MPs patrolling the reception station area just before basic training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. The carried baseball bats. Honest.
It's not surprising.
I've seen some really odd "weapons" used for guard duties.
One particular camp I was at in Iraq had a very tightly controlled compound at its center. Anyone approaching the gate (already inside the camp) had weapons aimed at them at all times. ...Which lead to three people being shot "by accident", by Air Force SPs. After the third incident, all of their ammunition was taken away, and locked in an ammo can.
They carried empty M4s, with no magazine; and only the NCO on duty could man the mounted machine gun. ...But they were issued sim-grenades and tear gas, since there was still a need for a good deterrent. Anyone with a brain can figure out that idiots shooting other soldiers on a friendly base, "by accident", shouldn't be given explosives. After the first Port-A-Jon was destroyed, the SPs involuntarily turned that guard duty over to the Navy.