Field of Dreams is becoming a reality in 2020, when the New York Yankees will take on the Chicago White Sox in a regular season game at Dyersville Farm in Iowa, site of the original movie, on August 13. The 1989 fantasy baseball movie has become a true American classic. 30 years after Kevin Costner heard the immortal words “If you build it, he will come”, a regular season game will be played where the film was shot.
MLB (Major League Baseball) has announced some building work of their own. While a ballpark was created for the original shoot, a temporary stadium holding 8,000 will be put up nearby for the special event.
Day 1 of the @MLB process….
— Field Of Dreams Movie Site (@fodmoviesite) August 16, 2019
CNN reports that “A pathway through a cornfield will take fans to the ballpark, which will overlook the famous movie location. The right field wall will include windows to show the cornfields beyond the ballpark.”
Field of Dreams would be nothing without its fields. The baseball diamond stretched across two farms, on land owned by the Lansing and Ameskamp families respectively. The Field of Dreams Movie Site explains how Don Lansing was approached by a representative who knocked on the door.
“What, are you dreaming, or what?” he responded when asked if his site could be used as a movie location. “The only people who come around here are insurance salesman.” Lansing’s initial retort was prophetic – at the time dreams weren’t part of the project’s title. It was originally called Shoeless Joe, after the source novel by W.P. Kinsella.
Lansing agreed to the request, liking the sound of a movie about baseball. Little did he suspect, but it would become arguably the best baseball flick of all time. The story concerns Costner’s character Ray, a farmer who receives supernatural instructions to build a baseball field amongst the corn.
Despite financial hardship and scepticism, Ray’s vision comes to a powerful fruition. Field of Dreams resonates today, especially in the state where it was set. CNN quote Iowa governor Kim Reynolds, who says it “captures the uniqueness of Iowans’ can-do attitude”.
Variety spoke to writer/director Phil Alden Robinson about the movie for the 30th anniversary. He revealed the film is so powerful, it gave rise to a general misconception. For some the key line of dialogue goes, “If you build it, THEY will come.”
“It’s called the Mandela effect,” Robinson said, “people who swear they’ve seen something that really didn’t happen… There was some website devoted to people saying, ‘I know for a fact… it said, ‘if you build it, they will come’ and Universal changed it.” Robinson never revealed who delivered the line, lending the film even greater mystery.
Field of Dreams also had deep significance for the cast and crew. Burt Lancaster played the mythical Archibald “Moonlight” Graham. It was his final role on the big screen. As for Costner, he’d already made baseball picture Bull Durham (1988) but enjoyed the script, comparing the story to It’s A Wonderful Life.
Earlier this year Costner was interviewed on the Dan Patrick Show, giving short shrift to a flippant question. As written in The Hollywood Reporter, Paulie Pabst asked “when they pitched you Field of Dreams, you were at your peak of stardom, did you ever think, ‘This could be really silly?’”. Costner’s no-nonsense reply contained a four letter word!
The production may have wrapped decades ago, but tourism boomed over the years. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Lansings and Ameskamps, who reportedly had disputes over the direction of the site. In 2012 the land was sold to Go The Distance, who welcome over 100,000 visitors per year.
FOX will televise the forthcoming game, which should recapture the magic of Field of Dreams whilst introducing new generations to this enduring movie experience.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article mistakenly said the Yankees were playing the Red Sox. It is the White Sox playing, not the Red Sox. The correction was made on 8/17/20.