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Fans Might Never See Much-Anticipated “Field of Dreams” Baseball Game

Movie re-enactors gather in their 1919 Chicago White Sox uniforms to perform scenes from Field of Dreams. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Movie re-enactors gather in their 1919 Chicago White Sox uniforms to perform scenes from Field of Dreams. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A special baseball game inspired by the movie ‘Field of Dreams’ has been postponed due to the Covid. The Chicago White Sox and St Louis Cardinals were set to travel to the iconic Iowa location where the Kevin Costner classic was shot.

MLB (Major League Baseball) had high hopes for the August 13th face off, which was going to be televised. Now they’ve finally thrown in the towel. A temporary 8,000 seater ballpark is being taken down and returned to vendors. It’s thought another attempt will be mounted next year, circumstances permitting.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal broke the news about the cancellation of the field of dreams game on social media earlier this month, citing “a logistical problem”, though the League has had its setbacks with the outbreak. Trouble started when 18 Miami Marlins players tested positive for Coronavirus. A staff member for their opening weekend opponents the Philadelphia Phillies was also found to be infected, according to Sports Illustrated (SI).

Field of Dreams Iowa
Aerial view of the “Field of Dreams” grounds in Dyersville, Iowa. (Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

SI reports that the St Louis Cardinals were “among the three MLB teams that have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks during the league’s first two weeks of the season.” They add, “St. Louis’ weekend series against the Brewers was derailed after two pitchers tested positive for the virus.”

The Des Moines Register refer to a source, who told them the MLB “decided to err on the side of caution” over the big game. As recently as June 30th the ‘Field of Dreams’ ball battle was good to go. Quoted by the Chicago Sun Times, the League said they were “following all CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and state protocols regarding recommended safety practices”. MLB were keen to stress, “Safeguarding public health is our top priority.”

Field of Dreams house
The Field of Dreams house

Situated outside Dyersville, the Lansing Family Farm became a tourist hotspot after it featured in Phil Alden Robinson’s 1989 film. It was since renamed the “Field of Dreams Movie Site”. Investors, led by Go The Distance Baseball CEO Denise Stillman bought the location in 2011. The company were planning the game alongside MLB.

Adapted from 1982 novella ‘Shoeless Joe’ by W.P. Kinsella, ‘Field of Dreams’ starred Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella. The Iowa corn farmer is confronted by ghosts from baseball’s past, such as Shoeless Joe (played by Ray Liotta), a hero of his late father’s. After hearing the immortal words “If you build it, he will come”, Kinsella sets about building a baseball field from scratch.

Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams movie location. Photo by IowaPolitics CC by 2.0

Making $84 million at the box office from a $15 million budget, it became one of the best-loved sports movies of all time. The cast featured Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones and Burt Lancaster, in his final film role as Dr. “Moonlight” Graham. Among the extras were a young Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Costner holds the movie in high regard. He’d already made baseball picture ‘Bull Durham’ the previous year but decided ‘Field of Dreams’ was worth a foray back onto the field. He’s compared the story to that of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ (1946). When asked on a radio show last year whether he thought the story was “silly”, the veteran star gave a robust and bleepable reponse!

The temp venue would have created an evocative journey into the world of the movie. Visitors access the ballpark through a cornfield. From there they could view Costner’s famous stamping ground through windows. “Aspects of the ballpark’s design will pay homage to Chicago’s Comiskey Park,” reports Ballpark Digest, “home of the White Sox from 1910-1990, including the shape of the outfield and bullpens beyond the center field fence.”

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The White Sox were supposed to play the New York Yankees in the field of dreams game, until the latter were substituted with the Cardinals by MLB. SI writes that another team will have to be found for what will surely turn out to be the experience of a lifetime for fans…

Steve is a writer and comedian from the UK. He’s a contributor to both The Vintage News and The Hollywood News and has created content for many other websites. His short fiction has been published by Obverse Books.