Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 16:07:15 -0600 From: "Kathleen M. O'Neill" Subject: Re: why no right field? >Anyone know the background of the expression "out of left field" or "from >left field," which would seem to have a baseball-related origin >Jerry Miller In vain, I consulted my favorite fun guide, the Dictionary of American Idioms, by Adam Makkai. Alas, he gives no etymology for the phrase, only a definition (or two): "out in left field adj. phr., informal 1 Far from the right answer; wrong; astray. ... 2 Speaking or acting very queerly; crazy...." As far as folk etymologies go, I can think of two possibilities: 1. From my softball days, I seem to recall that in order to hit to left field, you had to swing late. This could be done deliberately, if you knew you could catch someone off-guard, say, or it could be done out of lack of ability/confidence, etc. 2. In my experience, right field was always the place where little league players were sent if they weren't very good, because most little league batters wouldn't hit out there. However, some interpretations might allow for the "bad" player to be in left field. Who knows?! ;) ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; ;Kathleen M. O'Neill ... Language Laboratory Technician I ; ;koneil1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ... u55354[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ; ;:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::; ;University of Illinois at Chicago ... Language Laboratory ; ;703 South Morgan Street (M/C 042) ... Grant Hall, Room 311 ; ;Chicago, IL 60607-7025 ; ;312.996.8838 or 8836 ... 312.996.5501 FAX ; ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;