116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Sequels seldom are great.
You don’t catch lightning in a bottle twice. Do you remember the sequels for “Slap Shot” or “Caddyshack” or “Major League,” just to name sports-related movies? For your sake, I hope not.
Luckily, there has been no “Field of Dreams 2: Revenge of the Ghost Players.” We are getting a Field of Dreams sequel, however. It’s a second edition of a Major League Baseball game, Thursday night in rural Dyersville.
Like last year’s affair, it’s a tough ticket. Last week, StubHub’s cheapest seat for the game went for $890.
The most-expensive was $5,200, making me wish I’d have at least entered the lottery to buy two face-value tickets, with fees, for $826.
If you build it, they will gouge.
Virtually everyone who attended or watched the 2021 game was enchanted by the production Major League Baseball put on at the new Field of Dreams Stadium. Even those of us who thought pancakes would have been drowning victims from all the syrup in that movie found the live event enjoyable.
“That was as special and breathtaking a setting for a baseball game as I’ve ever been part of,” New York Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said.
Kevin Costner leading players from the Yankees and Chicago White Sox out of the cornfield behind the right field fence and onto the playing field may sound like pure corn, but it was done well. It somehow was dignified instead of ridiculous.
Then the game was played, and it added to the luster of the event. The Sox entered the game in first place in the American League Central and the Yankees were the Yankees, with big boppers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
Judge and Stanton mashed two-run home runs in the top of the ninth inning to lift the Yankees to an 8-7 lead. But Chicago’s fiery Tim Anderson lined a two-run homer of his own in the last of the ninth for a walk-off, 9-8 win and a cinematic ending.
Some have suggested it was the most-memorable sporting event to have ever taken place in Iowa. So let’s do it again next year, Major League Baseball decided before the first one had even gotten started.
How do you stage a sequel with the original still so fresh and hard to top in the public’s mind?
Surely, they’ll try some new tricks. They better. This year’s game isn’t a clash of contenders for anything but the worst record in the National League Central.
It’s the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, which means the star power on the field won’t be enough to turn on the lights at the ballpark.
The Cubs have rid themselves of almost everyone from their Hollywoodesque 2016 championship season and are quite lousy after enjoying winning seasons from 2015 to 2020.
The best thing you can say about the Reds is they’re a franchise with a lot of winning history to recall. If you’re old enough, anyway. They haven’t won a postseason series since 1995, the longest current streak in MLB.
But nostalgia is what all things Field of Dreams is about, isn’t it? Well, that and milking a cash cow.
The New Yorker’s Roger Angell, who died in May at age 101, wrote about baseball as well as anyone who has ever lived. He said the movie “Bull Durham” was “just about perfect.” He lauded “A League of Their Own.” But “Field of Dreams?”
"The stuff about the connection between baseball and American life, the 'Field of Dreams' thing, gives me a pain,“ Angell said in a Salon.com interview. ”I hated that movie.
“You look back into the meaning of old-time baseball, and really in the early days it was full of roughnecks and drunks. They beat up the umpires and played near saloons. In 'Field of Dreams' there's a line at the end that says the game of baseball was good when America was good, and they're talking about the time of the biggest race riots in the country and Prohibition. What is that? That dreaminess, I really hated that."
How’s this for a sequel: A Black or Hispanic player from the Cubs or Reds steps out of the batter’s box, turns to the crowd, and yells “They wouldn’t have let me near a big-league ballpark in 1919!”
That wouldn’t necessarily be dreamy, but it sure would make a heck of a plot twist.
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