Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

School is officially OUT in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor, and the difference in traffic flow sans buses this morning was downright dramatic.  I was tempted to drive round the block a few times for no other reason than Because I Could.

In addition, what a delightful day Ma Nature served up for us: Dry, breezy, temperature in the mid-70’s.  For the middle of June in the Virginny Piedmont, I’ll take that any time.  Ol’ Robbo was planning to watch “The Blues Brothers” after dins this evening, but I might just postpone that (it’s supposed to hot up starting tomorrow) and spend the evening on the porch watching the bats and fireflies.

Speaking of summery things reminds Ol’ Robbo of something that has been on his mind off and on for a while now.  If I ever become Emperor, I think one of my decrees will be to ban the Shift from Major League Baseball.  I understand the strategic rationale for it, but to me seeing three infielders all stacked up on the same side of 2nd Base is Just Wrong.

Granted,  when a batter manages to foil the Shift by getting a hit to the weak side, the result can be highly gratifying in a Nelson Muntz “HA-Ha!” way.

In the end, though, mere gratification must never be the basis for justifying the Wrong.  I mean, just imagine what an entire society based on such standards would look like.

Oh, never mind, that’s where we are now.

Anyhoo, thinking about this brought back a memory from Ol’ Robbo’s misspent yoot.   I usually was among the last picks for teams in middle and high school P.E. because I was rather weedy in those days and wore nerd glasses.  With softball, however, it was a different matter.  I was never one of the first picks there either, but I was usually pretty high up once the recognized jocks had been selected.

This was because I possessed the talent of being able to hit the ball pretty much anywhere I wanted to.  Pull side, opposite field, up the middle, it didn’t matter.  Somehow or other I had discovered the principles of bat control, and could adjust my swing accordingly.

My great trick was to belt a ball down the 3rd Base line my first time up.  Then, when I came up a second time and all the outfielders had shifted over accordingly, I’d put the next one down the 1st Base line.  The jocks on my team would laugh appreciatively.

Another trick involved a particularly annoying jerk who gave me a hard time every now and again.  When he was playing in the outfield, I would lash a line drive in his direction, knowing he couldn’t possibly catch it.  (He was a lousy fielder.)  Then I would trot around the bases laughing while he scurried off chasing the ball deep into tiger country.  (We played on an open patch with no outfield wall to stop the ball.)  The humiliation was schadenfreude-licious.

Good times, good times.

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