The Field Of Dreams Is Now Real
By Scott Murphy
Global interest is high for the first ever professional baseball game to be played on the filming site of the original 1989 film.
“If you build it, he will come,” went the immortal line in the 1989 film “Field Of Dreams” and since that time, a small baseball field in eastern Iowa has attracted sports lovers from around the globe.
Now, that field will hit the big time when the New York Yankees play the Chicago White Sox in a major league game held at a specially constructed stadium 300 yards from the original movie site. Both players and fans will walk through corn fields to get to the stadium, which will be played before 8,000 fans and be broadcast on television across the United States. “This is more about the timeless nature of baseball, the universal appeal of the game,” said film critic Richard Roeper in a virtual interview with MLB.com this week.
The concept for this one-of-a-kind Major League Baseball game stems from a dying wish that cancer stricken former owner Denise Stillman had after she bought the Dyersville, Iowa field in 2012. By 2016, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred first realized that the possibility of holding a game there made sense. And though the game was originally scheduled to be held last year, COVID forced it to be postponed until now.
While the film wasn’t a huge box office draw when it was released in 1989, earning just US$64 million at the box office, the film’s plot, about an Iowa man named Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) who is spiritually moved to build a baseball field on his cornfield, resonated with sports fans and general audiences alike. The story was based on the book “Shoeless Joe” by budding author W.P. Kinsella and showcased a love for the original pureness of baseball. Subsequently, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and was selected to enter the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Ever since that time, fans of the film have made the pilgrimage to a remote farmland in Iowa to see the field. Today, they can even stay at the farmhouse where Ray Kinsella “lived” for US$500 a night, receiving a gift basket with a DVD of the film in the process. And, the idea of this MLB game is so popular, that tickets reportedly were being sold online at a cost of US$10,000 for just two seats.
In a nod to the movie, both teams will enter from a cornfield that begins just beyond the outfield and they’ll also be sporting specially made uniforms that harken back to the year 1919, when Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the “Chicago Black Sox” played the game and appeared in the film.
Though nothing is confirmed, interest has been so high that the MLB is reportedly considering making a game at the “Field Of Dreams” an annual event. Now that a stadium has been built and professional lights permanently installed, that concept is one step closer to reality.
“Wow, this is perfect,” said actor Kevin Costner when stepping out on the field for the first time since making the film over 30 years ago. “This is perfect.”
The Field Of Dreams game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox will take place on August 12th at 7pm (EST).