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Field of Dreams Game is Reality With Youth Ball Already Playing There

15 Jul, 2021

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

If you hype it, they will come, and probably in droves. The long-awaited Field of Dreams game at the ballpark in the cornfield (yes, that cornfield) in Dyersville, Iowa, is on deck as the New York Yankees take on the Chicago White Sox on August 12.

That itself is good news but what’s even better is the fact that the venue is already hosting youth sports. In fact, there are now two fields in the area: one is the movie field, which MLB.com notes, “has been preserved in all its homespun glory,” right down to the “Ray Loves Annie” carving that played a role in the movie – while the other is a field built to MLB specifications, and which will include a temporary seating bowl as well as locker rooms. (Bonus: Players will enter the field through the hallowed cornfield).

But for now, it’s the youth field that is swamped with nostalgia and ready to be filled with poignant memories as kids come from all over to play games.

In fact, two 14U teams representing Chicago and NYC will take the field in a special exhibition game in on the eve of the big showdown. And that game is a dream in itself; the New York ball club will come from DREAM, an organization founded in Harlem in the early 1990s to create opportunities for underserved youth. The Chicago team, the Amateur City Elite (ACE), was formed in 2007 to provide opportunities to low-income youth; in the time since its founding, 94 ACE alums have gone on to play Division I college baseball -- and 26 have been selected in the MLB Draft.

And talk about a dream experience: the day after the youth game, players and coaches will have seats to watch the game now called MLB at Field of Dreams Game Presented by GEICO.

That event will be the first Major League game ever played in Iowa. Back in 2019, SDM reported on the plans being made for the original event, as business owners in and around Dyersville (2019 population: 4,130) braced themselves for the game.

“We’re hearing that people are going to come early and kind of check out the state; check out the town,” Karla Thompson, executive director of the Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce, told CBS affiliate KGAN-TV at the time. “So we’re thinking it’s going to be a big economic impact.”

Spectator attendance will be capped at 8,000, creating perhaps the hottest ticket of the summer with the most commanding (ahem) resale value. 

“Man, you will never, ever, take fans for grated again,” Los Angeles Dodgers outfield Cody Bellinger told USA Today in January. “You realize how much they impact the game. How much fun they make the game. We’re all just looking forward to getting back to normal again.”

Meanwhile, fundraising continues on the Field of Dreams website to create “Ballpark Heaven,” a 21-field youth sports complex named after the film’s famous line (“Is this heaven?” “It’s Iowa.”) that also will include the MLB stadium and the original field. Plans call for the completed facility to host weekend and weeklong tournaments for players ages 8-16.

Tourism officials are equally excited, according to local NBC affiliate KTIV.com.

Travel Dubuque Executive Director Keith Rahe noted that he has worked with MLB to make the Field of Dreams even more popular. The game, he adds, will grow the legacy and draw even more baseball tourism.

“How iconic is this to be out in the most famous cornfield in the world and Major League Baseball coming in and building this diamond,” Rahe said. “What you’ll see is the field itself is permanent. The diamond itself. But then, they come in and build all the rest of the infrastructure that they need and it’s amazing. And when they get done, it’s absolutely breathtaking. We can’t wait for August 12.”

Neither can regional grocery store chain Hy-Vee, apparently. According to a press release, PLB Sports and Entertainment has partnered with Field of Dreams star Dwier Brown and Hy-Vee to create a limited-edition Field of Dreams Corn Flakes cereal to commemorate the game.  The cereal will be sold exclusively at Hy-Vee stores across the Midwest beginning July 26, 2021. (Prior to the cereal’s in-store launch in mid-July, PLB Sports and Entertainment was offering a two-box bundle of the cereal online for – ahem – a steal of $29.99).

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