"out of left field" (Why "left"?)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Mar 27 05:56:15 UTC 2001

At 1:12 PM -0500 3/27/01, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>In a message dated 2/28/01 10:39:01 AM, laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:
><< What makes us prefer "out of/in left field" is, I've
>always assumed, the general association of leftness with the weird or
>unconventional (due to properties of both handedness and politics).
>  >>
>I always thought that it was because the left-field fence was often placed
>farther away from home plate than the right-field fence

Often, but usually?  Is there empirical confirmation for this claim?
(Actually, center field is ALWAYS farther away from home plate than
either left or right, but I don't think we ever get "out of/in center
field, so sheer proximity can't be the whole story.)


>  (because more long
>balls are hit to left field than right). Hence "way out in left field" is as
>far away as one can get from the center of the action.

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