August 17, 2021
I was a little skeptical when it was first announced, but the Yankees-White Sox game played in the corn fields of eastern Iowa last Thursday, August 12 turned out to be a big hit. The Field Of Dreams game had been delayed by one year due to the covid-19 pandemic, and it was a stroke of good luck that the weather was almost ideal. With seating limited to just 8,000 fans, MLB arranged a ticket lottery open only to residents of the state of Iowa. Fair enough. (Mark London, a long-time fan of this website, kept me posted about developments in the weeks before the game took place, and he tried to get tickets via the lottery.) A similar game held at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in July 3, 2016 was open only to members of the armed services and their families. Field Of Dreams actor Kevin Costner was part of the opening ceremonies, in which the players for both sides entered the field from the corn, a very effective gimmick. The Yankees and White Sox battled back and forth as the game progressed, with the lead changing four times. In the top of the ninth inning, the Yankees erased a three-run deficit and took the lead thanks to home runs hit by two of their biggest sluggers: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. But in the bottom of the ninth, Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson hit a home run into the corn beyond right field, as the "home team" White Sox won the game in dramatic walk-off fashion. Almost as if it had been scripted that way... White Sox 9, Yankees 8.
The game was such a success in terms of TV viewing and advertising revenues that MLB announced that there will be another game there next year: between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs. If they open it up to non-Iowans, I'd like to see that game...
And so, needless to say, I made some corrections and enhancements to the Field of Dreams page. It now includes separate diagrams for the new stadium where the game was played last week, as well as the diagram showing the diamond about 1/4 mile to the east, where the movie was actually filmed. [It is based largely on various aerial photos I have seen, including photos I took of the TV screen during the game. NOTE: The estimated 1,300-foot distance between the home plates of those two fields as rendered in the "combined" thumbnail image is only an "eyeball" approximation, and could be off by as much as 50 feet.] The thumbnail image above allows you to compare (by clicking, rolling your mouse over, etc.) the original (1988) Field Of Dreams with the new one where the MLB game was just played.
The new stadium is a simple, one-deck grandstand, resembling Fort Bragg Field, where the Braves hosted the Marlins on July 3, 2016. The portion surrounding the infield consists of 20 rows of seats with a row press boxes perched on top of fan amenities to the rear of the grandstand. There are access ramps on both the first and third base sides. Along the third base line down to the left field corner there is a large bleacher section, with about 40 rows of bench seats. The bullpens are in center field, and the corn fields run right up against the right and left field fences. Behind the main grandstand are two very large tents, presumably serving as emergency shelters and logistical functions. (There are also a number of other smaller structures and tents, which the diagram omits for reasons of simplicity.)
In addition, I have updated the Anomalous stadiums page with that information, as well as the two temporary ballparks used by the Toronto Blue Jays this year: TD Park (new page pending) in Dunedin, Florida and Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York.
There was yet another no-hitter on Saturday night, as Tyler Gilbert, age 27, led the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 7-0 victory over the visiting San Diego Padres. It was the seventh (!) no-hitter this year, according to my calculations. This one was special, however, as it was the first time that a pitcher had thrown a no-hitter in his very first major league start since Bobo Holliman did it for the St. Louis Browns in 1953. (Holliman didn't last long in the majors, however.) Gilbert's parents were attending the game in Chase Field, obviously delighted beyond measure. Ironically, the losing pitcher in Saturday's game, Joe Musgrove, had thrown the first no-hitter in Padres history back on April 9.