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,
*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).