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If You Build It, MLB Will Come?

The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox will play a regular season Major League Baseball game at the “Field of Dreams” cornfield in Dyersville, Iowa on August 13, 2020.

The baseball field was made famous in the 1989 film starring Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella, a farmer who starts hearing voices and interprets them as inspiration to build a baseball field for the ghosts of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and the infamous 1919 Chicago White Sox.

Since the movie’s release the ball field in Iowa has been a tourist attraction to thousands of baseball fans from around the globe. Many visitors walk in and out of the corn like the ghosts in the movie, while others run the bases or reminisce about their favorite scenes. Personally, I'd love to "have a catch" with a certain someone from my past.

Interestingly, the iconic site does not play host to organized baseball games. A sign on location warns, “We do not allow organized games. Thanks for giving everyone a chance to play.”

That will all change next summer, as Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the transformation from movie set to major league ball field will become a reality.

"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 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."

The choice to feature the Chicago White Sox is a tribute to the role the franchise played in the movie. They will be designated as the home team. The book “Shoeless Joe” written by Canadian author W.P. Kinsella in 1982, and later renamed “Field of Dreams” as a motion picture, focuses on the 1919 Chicago White Sox team that was banned from baseball for “throwing” (intentionally losing) the World Series for financial gain.

Shoeless Joe is a focal point in the story, because he was one of the great players of his generation and many baseball historians feel that he was wrongfully banished from Major League Baseball.

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While many of his teammates were tanking In the 1919 World Series, Jackson had the highest batting average (.375), the most doubles (3) and the only home run. It is widely believe that Jackson did play to the best of his abilities in the series, but that he made the unforgivable mistake of accepting money after the White Sox’s loss.

Ironically, there is another baseball movie called “Eight Men Out” that features many more details about the 1919 Chicago White Sox, but that film never captured the hearts and imaginations of baseball fans like “Field of Dreams.”

The decision to feature the New York Yankees as the opposing team is a no brainer. Aside from the fact that historically they have been the most popular team in the sport, they also feature a current cast of sluggers that is second to none. What baseball fan doesn’t want to see Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez hit majestic home runs into the cornfield?

The alternate game site is part of a growing trend in Major League Baseball. In the past calendar year, regular season baseball has been featured in London, England; Monterrey, Mexico; Omaha, Nebraska; Tokyo, Japan, and Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The construction to make “Field of Dreams” conducive for a Major League Baseball game is set to begin on Tuesday - one year from the event. The plans include - 8,000 temporary seats, an outfield wall with windows to showcase the cornstalks beyond the fence, and paths through the corn maze for fans to explore.

Baseball enthusiasts across multiple generations will undoubtedly look forward to the newest chapter in “Field of Dreams,” the Major League Baseball rendition. However, fans should be forewarned - the game will not be played on the exact same field that was featured in the movie.

A new baseball field will be built on the site in which the movie was filmed, in close proximity to the original one. Furthermore, the lights that lit up the field so beautifully in the movie - no longer have light bulbs.

Will the new ballpark have lights for the White Sox and Yankees? Come on Commissioner Manfred, if you can build 8,000 temporary seats at the site, what are a few light bulbs? Ray Kinsella would do it.

 

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