Fans of baseball and the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” were treated to a dinger of a good time on Thursday, as the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox took to an Iowa baseball field, just yards away from the field used in the Kevin Costner hit movie.
Hotels were booked to capacity in the small town of Dyersville, as fans young and old arrived to experience the magical event.
Surrounded by cornfields, the field was designed to match the dimensions of the Old Comisky Park, former White Sox home field, and augmented with temporary bleachers for 8,000 fans with a press box adorned with ‘MLB at Field of Dreams’ lettering. It was the first MLB game ever to be played on Iowa soil.
Of special note was the Fox Sports introduction voiced by James Earl Jones – perhaps the most iconic voice in cinema – that preceded the broadcast and boomed through the PA system before the first pitch. Jones played the ornery Terence Mann in the film, and Costner, who played Ray Kinsella, was there in person to host the game.
One of the most iconic voices of all time.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 12, 2021
Both teams donned their respective uniforms of old and arrived, most fittingly, emerging from corn stalks right behind center field. Many filed in to shake hands with Costner at the mound before he gave his introduction:
“Thirty years ago, we filmed a movie on the other side of that corn that has stood the test of time. Tonight, thanks to that enduring impact that little movie had, it’s allowed us to come here again,” he said.
In closing, Costner asked the crowd, “Is this Heaven?”
“No, it’s Iowa!” they yelled in unison, a memorable quote from the 1989 film.
Fans who made the trek to see the game live were no doubt thrilled, but Major League Baseball is a little particular when it comes to broadcasting games. A story in the Wall Street Journal described the strictures imposed upon fans in Iowa and other, larger markets.
“The problem in Iowa—and many other places around the country—is that the definition of “local” is quite loose and at times perplexing. In Dyersville, Iowa, where the White Sox beat the Yankees, 9-8, on Thursday night, fans can’t watch the White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals or Minnesota Twins. They’re all blacked out. That’s 20% of the entire league, even though the state of Iowa has no major-league team”
“Dyersville is about 200 miles away from Chicago, 350 miles away from St. Louis and nearly 375 miles away from Kansas City, Mo. To drive from the “Field of Dreams” site to catch a game at Target Field in Minneapolis would take about 4 1/2 hours by car each way. Nonetheless, Twins games are unavailable on MLB.tv in Iowa. Yankee Stadium is barely two hours from Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, but fans in New York can stream Phillies games on MLB.tv. (The Field of Dreams game was broadcast nationally on Fox and blacked out across the country on MLB.tv.)”
Although the bleachers are due to be removed, the field itself will remain, and there is hope that the successful “Field of Dreams” game will become an annual event.
The White Sox bested the Yankees by one run, winning 9-8.
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