One of the most highly anticipated games in Major League Baseball history will have to remain anticipated a while longer. MLB at Field of Dreams presented by GEICO was to be a highlight of the 2020 schedule, but, like so much else in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the
One of the most highly anticipated games in Major League Baseball history will have to remain anticipated a while longer. MLB at Field of Dreams presented by GEICO was to be a highlight of the 2020 schedule, but, like so much else in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the special event has been pushed back a year.
“We made every effort to go ahead with a first-class event for the people of Iowa, admirers of the film and fans generally,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “Unfortunately, we have come to the conclusion that it would not be prudent to ask clubs to step outside their normal routines, given the evolving public health challenges. We hope to host this event in Iowa in 2021.”
Upon its initial announcement in 2019, interest in the game was not all that dissimilar to interest in Ray Kinsella’s farm-turned-field. But instead of hundreds of cars lining Lansing Road in Dyersville, Iowa, it was thousands upon thousands of fans tweeting, sharing and otherwise discussing the special event. That interest is bound to be revived whenever the game becomes official again.
Here is a handy FAQ to answer any questions you might have about MLB at Field of Dreams. If you ask it, we will answer.
When and where is the game?
A revised date for the game has not yet been announced, but MLB’s hope is to stage it during the 2021 regular season, in the month of August.
The game will take place at a newly constructed, 8,000-seat ballpark near the “Field of Dreams” movie site in Dyersville.
Who is playing in MLB at Field of Dreams?
All we know for sure is that the White Sox will be involved. In the previous plans for the game, the Sox were scheduled to be the “home” team, surrendering a home date at Guaranteed Rate Field for this unique event. Whether home or away, the White Sox are an obvious choice to be included because of their role in the 1989 “Field of Dreams” movie, in which the ghosts of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and other members of the 1919 Black Sox play on the diamond in the Iowa cornfield.
Originally, the plan was for the White Sox to play the Yankees. But when the pandemic forced a change to a shortened 60-game schedule in which teams only played clubs in their geographic region to limit travel, the Cardinals replaced the Yankees as the visiting team.
As of this writing, it is not yet known who the White Sox’s opponent would be in 2021.
Will this count as a regular-season game?
Will fans be able to attend?
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it is too soon to say whether fans will be able to attend in 2021, but that is of course the hope.
If they are allowed, people will come. People will most definitely come.
Will the game be played on the same field that was used in the movie?
No. Not only is that field not up to typical Major League dimensions, but too many balls would get lost in the cornfield.
Where will the ballpark be located?
In the field beyond the northern perimeter of the movie field. In a nice homage to the game in the film, a pathway through the cornfield leads to the ballpark.
The right-field wall features windows to show the cornfields beyond the ballpark.
How large will the ballpark be?
It is large enough to hold 8,000 fans, but, again, it is still to be determined whether any fans will be able to attend.
What will the field look like?
The design of the park pays homage to Chicago’s Comiskey Park, which was home of the White Sox (and, for a time, “Shoeless” Joe) from 1910-90.
Will the ballpark be used again?
The field will stay intact. Go The Distance Baseball, the company that operates the movie site, will consider other potential uses for it.
Will this be the smallest facility to ever house an MLB regular-season game?
No, BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa., where the Little League Classic has been held, is the smallest. It has a capacity of 2,366.
What happens if the game gets rained out?
In both iterations of the 2020 schedule, an off-day was built in after MLB at Field of Dreams to leave room for a makeup game. This could be a consideration in the selection of a 2021 date, as well.
Has MLB ever had a regular-season game in Iowa?
No, this will be the first. But the White Sox and Cubs did stage an exhibition in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1942, for the opening of Dodger Stadium (no, not that one). Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Cap Anson, Dave Bancroft, Fred Clarke, Red Faber and Dazzy Vance all hail from Iowa. Feller’s father, William, predated the movie idea by building his son a ballfield on the family farm in Van Meter.
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.