I Can Spell Ambidextrous But I Am Not

by Kevin Burton

   Though I have no background in statistical analysis, I fancy myself a talent scout for the Cincinnati Reds.

   For you non baseball fans, that was a slap at the people who use analytics to determine a baseball player’s potential rather than say watching how well he plays.

   Anyway, I have a source in Michigan who let me know about a kid who reported to T-ball this month as a switch-hitter.  “Throws right: Bats both” it will say on the back of his baseball card.

   I hear the coach was intrigued to have a switch-hitter on his roster. I don’t think the kid even knows how to refer to himself in third person yet. But he has the power to force a pitching change.

   Yeah, I know they don’t pitch in T-ball.  The point is, I’m looking ahead. Don’t know how many MLB teams know about him, but I’m watching.

   The star leadoff hitters on my favorite teams, Pete Rose of the Reds, Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals, were both switch-hitters.

   I always wanted to switch-hit. I have had one left-handed at-bat in a game of any consequence and I made an out.  I’m a right-handed batter and maybe a little too right-handed in general.

   The whole thing got me thinking about the things I can do left handed. How many things can you do with your off hand? 

   Ambidextrous is a word I understand and can spell correctly on the first try, but I’ve never been described as such.

   When I had a consultation with a music producer this month, I felt the need to apologize for my left hand, which in most of my songs isn’t too useful when I’m playing keyboard. 

   I then apologized for my right hand, my singing, songwriting, appearance and posture.

   The folders with my notes and lyrics, I put those on the floor to the right of my chair. If As needed to refer to them, the right hand would retrieve them.

   I play pool equally badly with both hands.  At the Ohio State School for the Blind they had a pool table in the cottage for older boys.  I learned to play a little bit just because it was there. I like pool OK, don’t love it.

   I remember playing pool with my first editor and some other people and other people repeatedly “scratching” or putting the 8-ball into one of the pockets.  That is an automatic game over, game lost move. So that made me a backhanded “winner” all night, when all I wanted to do was sit down and listen to tunes, to “get off the table” as they say.

   “He wouldn’t lose and he wouldn’t go home,” my editor said.  It was a left-handed compliment.

   Which hand is more important though in pool, the one you shoot with or the one you steady with?

  Sometimes when I’m at a restaurant with people I eat my meal left-handed.  This is something I do in order to slow down my eating so I don’t race through the meal, then have long minutes of just sitting there. 

   Other more outgoing people would use conversation to slow down their eating.  Me, I go all switch-eater.

   Anyone scouting me in my pickup basketball days would have written down “no left hand.” A player skilled with only one hand in predictable and easier to guard.

   So now I’m here scratching my head, right-handed, trying to come up with anything else I can do with the left. Seems I barely have enough material for a decent blog post on the subject. 

   Clapping my hands?  Hit with the right hand while the left hand is stationary. Come to think of it, most things I attempt left handed make me look like a wind-up toy monkey that claps with both hands. Less than smooth.

   Writing this post was probably a bad idea. If my T-ball source sees it she’ll give the information to the Detroit Tigers and the Reds could miss out on a prospect.

   Should have kept it quiet. Feels like I violated the Biblical command to “let not my left hand know what the right hand is doing.”

Join the Conversation


  1. Hay Kev made me laugh! I have been known in past to bat left-handed. I think even scored some runs doing that. I remember it always felt awkward swinging left handed when Bob would ask me to do that. He also told me that my swing from that side was about 6 inches higher.


    Liked by 1 person

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