As we learned earlier this season when the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners opened the season in Japan and the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox spent a weekend in London, Major League Baseball is more than willing to venture from sea to shining sea to increase its visibility.
Now we’ve discovered MLB is also game to take its roadshow to the Heartland to play on one of sport’s iconic fields.
The Yankees and Chicago White Sox will play on the Field of Dream in Dyersville, Iowa on Aug. 13, 2020. Mike Tauchman and Ryan Goins might emerge from the cornfield.
Hey, you can’t have everything.
One question: Who does the play-by-play, John Sterling or James Earl Jones?
MLB will construct an 8,000-seat ballpark on the site where 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” was filmed. It will be the first league game ever played in Iowa.
“As a sport that is proud of its history linking generations, Major League Baseball is excited to bring a regular-season game to the site of Field of Dreams,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “We look forward to celebrating the movie’s enduring message of how baseball brings people together at this special cornfield in Iowa.”
MLB is taking this project very seriously. It will begin construction on the field next week. And in case you were wondering, there will be a cornfield and a pathway for fans to take to the ballpark. The right-field wall will include windows so everyone can see the cornstalks.
The stadium will resemble the former home of the White Sox, Comiskey Field, which stood from 1910-90. It will have the shape of Comiskey’s outfield complete with bullpens beyond the center field fence.
Wouldn’t it be great if Shoeless Joe Jackson showed up to throw the first pitch to Moonlight Graham?
It will be a home game for the White Sox and the game will be televised by Fox. The teams will then complete their three-game series in Chicago.
MLB is hyping the event with a commercial featuring Aaron Judge galloping onto a field that looks exactly like the one in the movie.
“Is this heaven?” Judge asks.
“No,” Kevin Costner’s character, Roy Kinsella, says. “It’s Iowa.”
The Yankees and White Sox are all giddy about the opportunity.
“I had heard little whispers about it really over this entire year, but hadn’t heard much about it lately,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Thursday in Toronto. “So to see it, and to see the Aaron Judge commercial, it’s great.
“We’ll get Costner back to throw the first pitch. James Earl Jones to get a [catcher’s] mask, get back there.”
MLB has teamed with ESPN in the past to stage games at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and in Williamsport, Pa., the home of the Little League World Series. It’s a neat idea. It brings the national pastime in touch with Americana. Can you imagine what it would be like if the NFL staged a game on a Friday Night Light’s field in Texas?
“Going back to the Fort Bragg, I don’t know what the attendance was, or what they grew the attendance out to be, but it was small and intimate and it was all the people that lived on the base and everything,” said Boone, who was working for ESPN at time. “It was a really neat experience. This will be different than that, obviously, but I would imagine the same kind of cool, intimate, but also will feel like a really big deal. Something that we’ll start to look forward to.”
It’s certain the White Sox will also enjoy the game since “Field of Dreams” essentially depicted Kinsella interacting with members of Chicago’s 1919 “Black Sox” who were accused of throwing the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.
“Field of Dreams is an iconic, generational baseball story built upon a deep love of the game that transcends even the most impossible of circumstances,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “The filmmakers tell a beautiful story that resonates to this day. It is an incredible honor for the White Sox franchise to be the home team against the Yankees in a special setting that will capture everyone’s imagination just like the movie does. It seems very fitting that 30 years after the film’s debut, MLB will build a ballfield in an Iowa cornfield where we will come to play a game so that baseball fans can create their own memories to be cherished for decades.”