Is this heaven? It’s baseball! Field of Dreams Game a hit
By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd
Major League Baseball couldn’t have scripted Thursday night any better.
Tim Anderson provided the decisive Hollywood moment with a two-run, walkoff homer in the ninth inning that lifted the Chicago White Sox to a 9-8 victory over the New York Yankees in the first Field of Dreams Game.
Anderson’s blast off Zack Britton faded into the night and landed somewhere in the cornfields. What a fitting ending to a night that connected baseball’s past to its present, and touched on the heartstrings of all that is good in the sport.
It was a magical night in Dyersville, Iowa, with the game being played on the grounds where the smash-hit movie, “Field of Dreams,” starring Kevin Costner, was filmed more than 30 years ago.
Costner was part of the FOX pregame ceremonies, emerging from the cornfields, and walking towards the mound. Not a word was spoken as the memorable score of the movie played. Eventually, the players from both teams followed, with many players shaking the actor’s hand.
“If you build it, he will come,” is a signature line from the movie.
They built a stadium to accommodate a big league game, and 8,000 were in attendance. Yes, they came. Many more watched.
Dressed all in white, Costner briefly addressed the crowd, and in closing, said: “This field is for the players. Good luck today.”
That resonated with me because too often we forget that sports are about the players. The athletes are who we want to watch. In my four decades as a sports writer, I constantly reminded myself of this. The players are who make the games worth watching. The players are the ones who put in the time, work to reach the highest level of the sport. It’s about them.
And the players put on a tremendous show on Thursday night.
The night also showed the evolution of the sport. In all, eight homers were hit, four by each club. Giancarlo Stanton briefly put the Yankees ahead with his two-run homer in the top of the ninth.
Anderson’s blast, and the celebration that followed, ultimately stole the show.
There is a twist to the fact eight homers were hit into the cornfields, because the long ball was not common in the era the movie Field of Dreams pays homage.
Shoeless Joe Jackson played in baseball’s dead ball era.
In Shoeless Joe’s career, from 1908-20, he was a .356 lifetime hitter. Of his 1,772 total hits, just 54 were home runs.
Contrast that to Stanton alone. In 2017, when he was the NL MVP with the Miami Marlins, Stanton belted 59.
Numbers, obviously, are such a big part of baseball. We use them to build our arguments over which players are better, and why. That remains a big part of baseball’s lore and appeal.
But, to me, what made Thursday’s Field of Dreams Game special was the way it made me feel as a spectator. It touched the emotional side of why I became a sports fan, and baseball fan, and eventually a sports reporter, in the first place.
The father/son connection. “Wanna have a catch?” So simple. So basic. So relatable to anyone who ever picked up a baseball and put on a glove.
I’ve never been to Dyersville, Iowa, but certainly plan to do so some day.
But I do feel a personal connection to the movie because two years ago, I met actor Dwier Brown, who plays John Kinsella in the movie, at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. Brown was making the rounds to Minor League parks promoting his book, “If You Build It …” which I purchased, and he graciously signed.
Talking about 10 minutes with the actor was a personal highlight.
Brown signed the book, and wrote: “Wanna have a catch.”