Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 17:36:17 -0500

From: Ronald Butters amspeech[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ACPUB.DUKE.EDU

Subject: Re: why no right field?

On Mon, 22 Jan 1996, Jerry Miller wrote:

Anyone know the background of the expression "out of left field" or "from

left field," which would seem to have a baseball-related origin, but why

LEFT field, rather than, say, right field?

As I recall, the expression is actually "way out in left field" and

refers to the fact that the left field fence is farther away from home plate

in most ball parks than is right field. This, in turn,

stems from the fct that most ball players bat right handed, and hence

they tend to hit their longest balls to left field.

Given the current political

connotations of left and right, it implies something unsavory (or weird)

about those on the political left, absent any "out of right field"

expression to label people like Rush Limbaugh, John Birch, et al (or at

least gives Rush and his crowd a loaded weapon the folks on the other side

don't have).

Along with sinister, gauche, left-handed compliment,"left-handed" as a

euphemism for "homosexual," and the like. Many peoples use only the right

hand in eating,reserving the left for contact with genitals. We lefties

have always been discriminated against--like any minority. However, we

are as a group mentally superior to rilght-handed persons (and we tend

also tobe better-looking and more personable), which is (as I se it) the

REAL reason why French assigned the label to progressive (as opposed to

reactionary) politics.