Not too long ago I stood at a recreation complex baseball field. I watched as a group of kids were getting ready to play an informal choose up game. I had to smile when I saw the last player chosen and then I over heard one kid say to this last chosen one, “you’re in right field.” I thought back…some things never change.
In the sport of baseball playing right field has kinda a special notation about it.
If you think back to your early childhood days generally the last person chosen in a pick-up game would be told “you’re playin’ right field.” Supposedly that would be the position where one would be least likely to hurt the team. Right field was where nothing happens. Most batters are right handed and so few balls would be hit in that direction. I can remember a few pick-up games as a youth and if there would be a girl at that field that day two things for sure would happen. One, she would be chosen last and two, she would be sent to play right field. It was just the law of the choose up games. Thinking back to that time…that also was where the one tree we had in the outfield was. At least that person might find some shade. If few balls were hit that way one could do a bit more of “outfield day dreaming.”
The folk group Peter, Paul and Mary once sang about playing right field. (Footnote–I once (1961) stood back stage with Mary prior to her going on at a concert of theirs–at the time a rather attractive lady I must say.)
Saturday summers, when I was a kid
We’d run to the schoolyard and here’s what we did
We’d pick out the captains and we’d choose up the teams
It was always a measure of my self esteem
Cuz the fastest, the strongest, played shortstop and first
The last ones they picked were the worst
I never needed to ask, it was sealed,
I just took up my place in right field
Right field, it’s easy, you know
You can be awkward and you can be slow
That’s why I’m here in right field
Just watching the dandelions grow
Playing right field can be lonely and dull
Little Leagues never have lefties that pull
I’d dream of the day they’d hit one my way
They never did, but still I would pray
That I’d make a fantastic catch on the run
And not lose the ball in the sun
And then I’d awake from this long reverie
And pray that the ball never came out to me
Off in the distance, the game’s dragging on,
There’s strikes on the batter, some runners are on.
I don’t know the inning, I’ve forgotten the score.
The whole team is yelling and I don’t know what for.
Then suddenly everyone’s looking at me
My mind has been wandering, what could it be?
They point at the sky and I look up above
And a baseball falls into my glove.
Here in right field, it’s important you know.
You gotta know how to catch, you gotta know how to throw,
That’s why I’m here in right field, just watching the dandelions grow