A Major League Baseball game took place in the middle of an Iowa corn field on Thursday
By Diego Flammini
Major League Baseball (MLB) fans had their eyes fixed on an Iowa corn field Thursday night for a game with a unique look.
The Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees participated in MLB’s first Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa.
MLB originally wanted the game to be played on the field constructed for the 1989 movie. But when it couldn’t be brought up to league standards without permanently altering its movie authenticity, organizers decided to build a new diamond beside the tourist attraction and within a corn field.
The evening included Kevin Costner, who starred in the movie, leading the players out onto the field from the corn and delivering a speech before 8,000 fans prior to first pitch.
The new MLB-ready baseball field (top) hosted the Field of Dreams game beside the field used in the 1989 movie (bottom).
Kelsey Kremer, Brian Powers/The Register photo.
And in the bottom of the first inning, White Sox player Jose Abreu hit his 23rd homerun of the season into the cornfields, making it the first ever major league homerun hit in Iowa.
It was a special night to celebrate agriculture and baseball, said Greg Alber, president of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. He attended the game with other people representing the state’s ag industry.
“Everyone who helped organize the event deserves a round of applause because it was so well done,” he told Farms.com. “From a spectator’s perspective I don’t see how it could have gone any better. It was so unique to watch a ball game and have it so peaceful because you didn’t hear the other noises with games in the city.”
Corn and agriculture were as much a part of the game as the actual baseball was.
Representatives from Iowa’s ag industry set up information booths and distributed free samples of food to help tell agriculture’s story.
Corn, soybean, livestock and 4-H groups welcomed visitors from across the country, Alber said.
“We had an educational trailer and had lots of people coming through asking questions and at the end of the trailer we were handing out free sweet corn,” he said. “I made sure to ask people where they were from and we had folks from as far away as California and Arizona.”
The game averaged 5.2 million total viewers during the broadcast.
The ag sector needs to find a way to use that momentum to continue telling the story of agriculture, Alber said.
“You couldn’t ask for a better platform when you think about how many people watched the game and were in town for the festivities,” he said. “And when you think about baseball, the food people eat during the game and even some of the equipment, it ties back to agriculture. It’s going to be up to us to find a way to capitalize on this national attention.”
The Chicago White Sox defeated the New York Yankees 9-8 with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“You couldn’t have scripted it any better,” Alber said.