Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Which is better in the world of Sports: Left or Right?

Who's better: Lefties or Righties? That question has always bugged me, whether it's from watching the Rocky movies or wondering why Matt Leinart was so bad. Personally, I was born ambidextrous so I could never decide which hand was better, but I had to stick with the right hand because of an accident and Bible school teachers. Historically, the left hand was never seen as a good thing, whether for spiritual reasons or cause it was just the weaker arm. Anyways, that's besides the point because we all know that there are some dominant lefties in the world of sports, which leads to my question: are lefties better athletes? Some people believe that lefties are more artistic and maybe even smarter, given that Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, and Opera Winfrey are all left-handed. Here's a look at some of the more dominant lefties in the world of sports:
  • Football: All I care about here is the quarterback (although David Akers is a left-footed kicker who recently set the record for most FGs made in a single NFL season).
    • Tim Tebow: His throwing motion is the  ugliest thing I have ever seen and it doesn't seem as though he's the brightest kid. Is that cause of his left-handedness? Probably not. He's been banged around too many times and he doesn't really have a thrower's body, so you must excuse him for that awful delivery; however, he has a will to win. He's also a great runner, like the next player on this list.                                                                                         
    • Michel Vick: He's a great talent and he's got some great moves, but he's never really been known for his arm until recently. He's also not the most liked character in football... in fact he's the most hated according to a recent NFL poll. Is that because he's left-handed? No, of course not. His left-handedness probably helped him a lot in football because it forces defenses to reverse their defensive formations if they want to contain a scrambling QB that always runs left instead of right.
    •  Kellen Moore: Another lefty that has a will to win. Just look at his 50-3 record as a starter in College Football. But he was never invited to play in the title game and he wasn't even drafted. Is that cause he's a lefty? Of course not, don't be silly. It's because he lacked arm strength as a passer... wait a sec, is he weak cause he's a lefty? Nope, again look at the two guys ahead of him on the list.

Left-handed fortune for football: Being a left-handed QB will make you a good runner, rather than a good passer. You'll get you many wins, but no one will like you.

  •  Baseball: Most batters/pitchers are right handed, but if the batter is left-handed, they'll have more success against a right-handed pitcher, vice versa. Given that notion and the right-handed majority, it doesn't make sense to be a left-handed pitcher.
    • Randy Johnson: Probably one of the greatest pitchers and the greatest lefty of all time. With 303 wins and 4,875 Ks in his career, he's one of the exceptions of a great left-handed pitcher since the ratio of Cy Young winners between righties and lefties is about 2:1. Another exception to Johnson is that he usually threw side arm. This allowed for his pitch to have much greater movement on a horizontal plane rather than a vertical plane (it also looked like the pitch would hit a left-handed batter.)
    • Barry Bonds: Now here's where being a left-handed batter gives you an advantage. Bonds was probably one of the most gifted hitters to ever play the game and being a lefty gave him an advantage over many pitchers since there are more right-handed pitchers than lefties. But then again, he used steroids (well then again, who hits tons of homers AND didn't use steroids). Even though he hit 73 homers one year, he also batted .370 the next year.
    • Babe Ruth: The Sultan of Swat, The Babe,The Bambino, whatever you want to call him, he was the first great slugger in our past time. And guess what, he was a lefty. Even though he played against weaker competition, he still hit 714 homers and .342 over his career. I'm not even sure if they had steroids back then, but the Babe was pretty fat and he wasn't a likeable guy ("pull my finger").

Left-handed fortune for baseball:  Avoid tossing lefty if you're a pitcher, but if you're a slugger, switch to the left side for contact. Again, all of these left-handed athletes weren't likeable guys.
  • Basketball: Now, you probably don't know that many left-handed basketball players, but defending them is quite different. As a good basketball player, you must master dribbling in both hands; however, a righty/lefty player will have their natural tendencies as to which side of the hoop they'll attack (a lefty will go to the left, a righty to the right).
    • Chris Bosh: The third wheel of the Miami Heat's tricycle currently has a flat tire, but he would probably help D-Wade and LeBron since he brings more attention to the left side of the hoop. However, ever since he came to Miami, his numbers have gone down and people don't like him that much anymore.
    • Manu Ginobili: I personally can't stand this guy and I think many people are with me on this one. The guy isn't too talented and he flops all the time, yet his Spurs always win games. No matter how old they are, they keep finding ways to win. For example, in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, Ginobili led a 4th quarter comeback for the Spurs in which they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder.
    • Lamar Odom: Another unlikeable guy. I'm not sure if it's cause of the Kardashian wife or the lack of effort and heart (and eyebrows), but this guy just ticks me off. He does indeed have talent, but in Los Angeles, he just seemed like Kobe's back-up. However, I can't hold a grudge against him just in case the Phoenix Suns get him.

Left-handed fortune for basketball: It's different and you'll have some success, but it doesn't make you more talented than right-handed players. Once again, none of these guys are liked.

Overall, the left-hand may present issues for your opponents in all of these sports since both football and basketball defenses must adjust to the different hand, but that advantage stops once the opponent gets used to defending the opposite arm. Baseball, on the other hand, has quite an advantage for left-handed batters. Unlike the other two sports, it is relatively easy to force yourself to bat left-handed, which is probably why there are so many left-handed or switch hitters. Whether or not your handedness affects how you behave or how people behave towards you hasn't been scientifically proven yet, so that's for another article. Baseball has a true advantage for lefties whereas football and basketball have little to no advantage for the left-handed athlete.