Sports

'This is epic': Major League Baseball is coming to the Field of Dreams

Ogden column: Yankees-White Sox game to be played in Dyersville in 2020

The Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville will host a Major League Baseball game in 2020. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
The Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville will host a Major League Baseball game in 2020. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

They built it and they still are coming.

Major League Baseball is coming, too, and bringing its show to Eastern Iowa and the Field of Dreams.

The Chicago White Sox announced Thursday they will host the New York Yankees on Aug. 13, 2020, in Dyersville on the iconic site of the 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner and based on the book “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella.

Major League Baseball is coming to Iowa. For the first time. Ever.

To state the obvious, that’s a pretty big deal.

“This is epic,” Karla Thompson, executive director of the Dyersville Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday morning.

This isn’t new for MLB. In 2016, a 12,500-seat facility was built for a game between the Marlins and Braves on the grounds of Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The Cubs and Pirates will play at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa., on Aug. 18 — home of the Little League World Series.

But this is new to Iowa.

“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 Rob Manfred said in a story posted on the White Sox’s website. “We look forward to celebrating the movie’s enduring message of how baseball brings people together at this special cornfield in Iowa.”

It makes sense the White Sox are hosting this game. The book, and movie, is centered on the “Black Sox Scandal” where eight members of the White Sox were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series, including “Shoeless Joe” Jackson. Jackson’s involvement has been disputed, especially since he had 12 hits in that Series, a record that stood until 1964.

But that’s another story.

The Yankees are coming to Iowa. Love ’em or hate ’em, the Yankees are to MLB what “Field of Dreams” is to the baseball movie industry. In a word, classic.

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With a lineup that included Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the Yankees won their first World Series title in 1923. They have won 26 world titles since that season, the last in 2009.

But, again, that’s another story.

MLB is coming to Iowa. Coming to Dyersville.

“We’re making national news,” Thompson said. “This not only is big for Dyersville, but for Iowa, too.”

When the announcement first appeared on my computer screen, I wondered how this was going to work. I’ve been to the Field of Dreams, even taken a few cuts in the batter’s box like many, many others over the past 30 years. I drive through Dyersville almost every weekend and have enjoyed many stops in this beautiful city.

But where are fans going to sit? How many can actually attend the game?

The game won’t actually take place on the Field of Dreams field. Construction on a “temporary 8,000-seat ballpark” will begin next week, according to the MLB announcement. The temporary “stadium” will sit adjacent to the Field of Dreams and the idea is to “shape the outfield and bullpens” to look like the White Sox’s old home, Comiskey Park.

The rightfield wall will have windows to show off cornfields and the movie set.

There will a lot more information coming in the weeks and months ahead, like how to get tickets. We do know the game will be televised nationally on Fox, starting at 6 p.m. It will be a sellout.

The buildup will be as much fun as the game.

“We can handle it,” Thompson said. “I have faith.”

So do fans of the White Sox, Yankees and the movie.

“if @rayliotta doesn’t emerge from the cornfield during the 7th inning stretch dressed as Shoeless Joe Jackson, I’m gonna be pissed,” one fan wrote on Twitter.

Organizers have a year to figure that one out.

l Comments: (319) 368-8696; jr.ogden@thegazette.com

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