Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 08:20:27 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: out in left field

Larry is right on. I am blessed with the brain and shooting skills of an

NBA star (undergrad linguistics students here at MSU can still improve

their grade by putting down more from the top of the key than me; none yet)

but the height and weight of a blocking back (which ended up being my

primary position), but my father and all his brothers were baseball greats.

To their intense disapppointment I had ground-ball-to-lip disease. Every

time a hot grounder came towards me, it seemed to end up in my face rather

than my glove.

I guarantee you that as time went on in my youth (and before I gained

enough self-confidence and familial independence to play the stupid game

not at all) that it was to RIGHT (not LEFT) field that I and my usually

sutured lip were assigned (where I usually performed even worse than my

minimal baseball [and even softball] skills would predict due to the

growing inattentiveness I paid the far-off goings-on).

I don't know what they were doing out in left field, but us

basketball-football types were stranded in right, where, except for a few

lefties and LATE-swinging right-handed batters, the ball rarely showed up

(a feature to which my lower lip, the one usually whacked, was grateful).

Dennis (Dead-Eye, Slippery Glove) Preston

Someone else brought up the possibility Dan Alford mentions (the allusion to

the worst kid being sent out to left field), but as we've been saying, the

preponderance of right-handed hitters means that it would be RIGHT field that

would be the safest spot to "hide" someone, and that's how I remember it,

in sandlot ball as well as the majors (think Dave Kingman).* Even in my

daughter's softball league, I'd wager that fewer balls are hit to right. So I

really think we need to stick to the left-field-fences-are-further-out theory

suggested by Ron, perhaps buttressed by the political corollaries brought up

by others (the off-the-wall-ness of "the Left", the prejudice against lefties,

etc.). Larry

*A tendency offset by the fact that right-fielders do need to have good

arms, so many excellent fielders end up being positioned there as well

(think Roberto Clemente).