San Francisco Giants trivia, a little housekeeping and follow-up

By Toni Cecchetti
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Aug 16, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; A fan turns the K card as San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (not pictured) records his fourteenth strikeout as another fan holds a broom for San Francisco Giants “sweep” of the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at AT&T Park. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Washington Nationals 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco Giants have the day off Monday. It stands to reason that I would too. Not so fast. As luck would have it, I’m still curious about the origin of “out in left field” and I’m afraid I gave you the first explanation I found without looking into it further.

"I wrote: “I wondered where this expression came from, so I looked up “out of left field” here’s how it is defined in the Urban Dictionary: “out of left field comes from when Wrigley Field was first built. In left field there was an insane asylum so when something crazy or unforeseen happened it was termed, “out of left field”.”"

It’s kind of like taking a big lead off first base and getting picked off.

I went back to my research and found that Urban Dictionary’s etymology of the phrase “out in left field” had some flaws.

The phrase is attributed to baseball according to Grammarphobia (a blog, and they cited a bunch of sources), but the mental hospital, the Neuropsychiatric Institute, that is said to inspire the phrase‒and that’s just one of a few theories‒was located next to left field in West Side Park‒the first home of the Cubs‒not Wrigley Field.

Other theories include the distance from left field to first base, making a putout at first almost impossible from the left; the fact that Babe Ruth played in right field and if you sat in left field you didn’t have a good view of him, so most fans chose to sit in right field.

Naturally, the theory about the mental hospital is the most popular choice.

On to the trivia answer from my blog post about Marlon Byrd’s debut playing for the San Francisco Giants on August 21, 2015. I asked:

What do the Birdman of Alcatraz and Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” “Doc” Graham have in common? Hint: there are two possible answers. Another hint was that I played fast and loose with the Birdman of Alcatraz answer for one of the correct answers.

Steve Scammell was the only reader to answer the question at all, and he gave one correct answer.

Here are the answers: the Birdman of Alcatraz and Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” “Doc” Graham were both played by Burt Lancaster in movies. In the movie Birdman of Alcatraz, he played Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz. He played Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” “Doc” Graham, in the movie Field of Dreams.

The other thing they have in common? Remember I said I was playing fast and loose with one of the answers, if you accept Birdman of Alcatraz as Marlon Byrd Giants nick name, then Birdman of Alcatraz and Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” “Doc” Graham are both Giants.

Tuesday’s game should be an interesting match-up and I am anxious to see how it works out. The Giants have Matt Cain on the mound and he’s been sort of hit and miss since he returned from the DL. In my blog post about the August 19, 2015 game in St. Louis when he last pitched I said:

"“Cain almost pitched like he used to. In fact, he was kinda shaky the first two innings, then suddenly‒it was almost like someone flipped a switch‒he settled into a rhythm and gave a solid performance for the rest of his outing. He pitched six complete innings, allowing two runs, six hits and one walk while striking out five.”"

Is he back? I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see. But I do know this: if I were a betting gamer babe, my money would be on the Horse. Even if no one else can do it, Matt Cain can.

Because #WeAreGiant. Just like the Birdman of Alcatraz and Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” “Doc” Graham.

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