'Into the corn!' Dream grand slam in Iowa

August 12th, 2021

DYERSVILLE, Iowa -- ACE center fielder Ezra Essex’s favorite scene from “Field of Dreams” takes place just after Kevin Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, meets the ghosts of the 1919 White Sox for the first time.

The team, having befriended the farmer who built the ballfield seemingly for them to enjoy, was headed back into the cornfield that serves as the outfield fence. The last player takes a few steps into the darkness, then turns and calls out to Kinsella, “I’m melting! I’m melting!” as he slowly disappears.

On Wednesday evening, 32 years after the movie was released, Essex’s teammate, Brandon Stinson, stepped to the plate, just as the fictitious White Sox ghosts had, and clubbed a grand slam right into the corn they once frequented.

The youth game was part of MLB’s Field of Dreams event that culminates Thursday in the White Sox-Yankees game, taking place in a grand, newly built stadium that holds 8,000 fans just beyond the movie site and will represent the first Major League game played in Iowa.

The 14-and-under White Sox ACE program defeated the DREAM academy, 8-7, in four innings, on the actual field from the movie.

Stinson’s slam was the highlight of a wild first inning that saw the ACE program steal seven bases and take a 7-0 lead, and it got FS1 on-air personality Frank Thomas so excited that he rushed to the ACE bench to interview Stinson.

The legendary slugger is no stranger to home runs -- Thomas crushed 521 of them during his 19-year Hall of Fame career, tied for 20th in American League/National League history -- but Stinson’s crack had Thomas excited, and he gladly embraced the role of fan during their chat. After a few humble responses from Stinson -- he was just looking for a good pitch to hit, got the barrel on it and so on -- Thomas concluded with a big smile, “You’ve got a bright future ahead of you.”

The youth game was named “A Dream Fulfilled,” and Stinson certainly put a stamp on his interpretation of the moniker.

And the ball he crushed?

After it sailed high over his head, DREAM left fielder Giovanni Bausone disappeared into the corn beyond the outfield for a moment before returning with the prize.

No, he didn’t melt.