“He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.” Yogi Berra
Back in 1966 my late father made one of the few mistakes that he made in raising me. He turned me around in the batter’s box and turned me into a right handed hitter.
For years I wondered about this because my first grade teacher Mrs Brandenburg took the pencil out of my left hand and put it in my right hand. A few short years later my 4th grade teacher Mrs Gates whacked my hand with a ruler because of my poor penmanship. That didn’t help my penmanship and truthfully if forced to take notes on paper I cannot read half of what I wrote.
During my first tour in Germany in the 1980s I started using my left hand to eat, and occasionally would just for shits and giggles write left handed. The sad thing is that I now eat left and that my writing when done with my left hand is nearly as legible as when I write with my right hand. But I digress…
Now ever since dad switched me at the plate I have not been a good hitter. We talked about this before he died, not that he turned me around at the plate but the fact that I was a crappy hitter. My life has been spent on the edge of the Mendoza line. (For those that don’t know what this is just google Mendoza Line or Mario Mendoza.) I haven’t hit for power but my dream is to start hitting balls over the fence, that way I can trot around the bases versus having to dig hard to get on base.
In the years since I have wondered what it would feel like to bat left-handed. However I was always too afraid to try it in a practice or game with real people. However today since for the first time in a long time I am playing somewhat organized ball I went to a batting cage after I did my circuit training around the lake in my neighborhood.
My first 40 swings were from the right side. But then I decided to go to the left side. It was amazing. My swing felt natural and not only did I make contact but it felt natural. I realized then that everything that I thought was right was really left.
Come to think of it for years of my life tried for whatever reason to stay to the political and religious right side of the house. Of course that was before Iraq, PTSD and a major faith crisis. After that I ended up somewhat on the left. I moderate but somehow more to the left than the right. Maybe that makes me a switch hitter too.
That reminds me of an exchange in the TV series 30 Rock.
Jack: When I was at Princeton I played baseball AND football. And back then football players went both ways.
Dotcom: Really? So you went both ways?
Jack: Yeah! We all did. It was the 70s.
In between as well as later tonight and tomorrow I will be doing some more studying and reading for my class and getting ready for my second exam at the Joint and Combined Warfighting School. Tomorrow after I celebrate Eucharist at my chapel I will do my PT, I think I might run and then head over to the batting cage again. In the afternoon I will be meeting Pulitzer Prize winning author David Wood to talk about PTSD and suicide in the military. David is a war correspondent and Military Editor for the Huffington Post.
Tuesday, Lord willing and the shutdown not sending half of my team home I will be playing in my first game. By the way I do intend on hitting from the left side. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Pray for me a sinner and have a great night.