MLB Field of Dreams Game: Five things to know as Yankees, White Sox meet in Iowa
Major League Baseball on Thursday will hold the much-ballyhooed “Field of Dreams Game” in Dyersville, Iowa between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox. The game is a living tribute to the iconic 1990 film “Field of Dreams” that starred Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, and Ray Liotta that was in part an exploration of baseball nostalgia.
While opinions vary on how effective the movie is, there’s no disputing that it’s one of the most discussed and recognizable baseball films ever made (it was also an Academy Award nominee for Best Picture). In that sense, an aggressive tie-in such as this one isn’t all that surprising.
The thrust of the event is that the Yankees and White Sox will play on a field not far from the location of the titular field — the diamond that Costner’s farmer character carved out of his corn field at great personal risk and expense, all at the heed of a spectral whisper:
Build it he did and — spoiler alert — come to it they did.
The dimensions of the movie field itself — now a prominent tourist destination in Iowa — aren’t such that a major-league game can be played on it, but the hope is that the nearby field constructed for this event will capture the essence of things.
Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
So as we look forward to what’s sure to be a memorable evening, let’s set the scene for some things to know about the Field of Dreams game.
How to watch Field of Dreams Game
Interested in tuning for what figures to be a game like you’ve never seen before? Peep the necessary info :
Where: Dyersville, Iowa | When: 7:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 12
TV channel: Fox | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Highlights: CBS Sports HQ
Odds: White Sox -160; Yankees +150; O/U: 9.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
And now for five things to know.
1. Here’s what this Field of Dreams looks like
As noted above, this won’t be played on the actual field from the movie, but it will be nearby and incorporate design elements that evoke Field of Dreams. The field and its immediate environs are obviously going to be the stars of the night. Here’s a look at the specially tailored ballpark in which the White Sox and Yankees will play:
As you can see, the playing dimensions are symmetrical (335 feet down the lines, 380 feet to the alleys, 400 feet to dead center), and the bullpens in center field are a nod to old Comiskey Park, dear, departed home of the White Sox on the South Side of Chicago. Also, here’s a note on a nifty quirk, via the MLB press kit: “The right field fence has a unique design that accentuates the corn through a fine mesh seven-foot high green chain link fence with offset vertical support posts — meaning the posts will actually be in the corn.”
Speaking of wholesome, restorative Iowa-grown corn, regard this view from the manual scoreboard just beyond the right field fence:
Corn fittingly abounds. Given the power hitters that figure to be in the lineups for this one, it seems quite likely a home run or three reaches said corn. Cornball!
More corn content forthwith:
So that’s a corn maze designed to look like the MLB logo, which is pretty cool, albeit in a “brand awareness” sort of way. That maze, as it turns out, connects the field that will be used on Thursday night to the field from the movie. Behold the photographic evidence:
In the foreground you see the actual Field of Dreams diamond where — another spoiler — ghosts played baseball for the uplift of those who sat quietly and were pure of heart. There’s the white farmhouse, too. Playing the game on the actual Field of Dreams would’ve been ideal, but that’s not tenable for regular season baseball at the highest level. The game field, however, has enough grace notes and vantage points to make it a fitting and immersive homage to the film.
2. Tickets were hard to come by
The stadium seats just 8,000. Combine that modest capacity with the alluring nature of the event and the fact that MLB’s flagship franchise is involved, and tickets are obviously at a premium. MLB conducted a public lottery for the opportunity to purchase tickets, but said lottery was open to just those with Iowa zip codes (this will be the first MLB regular season game ever played in the state of Iowa). Lottery winners had the opportunity to purchase two tickets and one parking pass. Related to all of this is that the secondary market for tickets to the Field of Dreams game is going where not even wealthy eagles dare:
Enjoy the game or the resale haul, lucky Iowa zip-coders.
3. The uniforms are of the throwback variety
The film draws heavily on the Black Sox Era of the 1910s and 1920s and on the complicated legacy of Shoeless Joe Jackson. In keeping with that backdrop, the Yankees’ and White Sox’s uniforms for Thursday will be plucked from those bygone days of the early-ish 20th century (save for the Nike swoosh):
4. This is a game with postseason implications
In terms of the broader picture, this game is no mere novelty act for the teams involved. The White Sox are bound headlong for their first AL Central title since 2008, but they’re presently in a tight race with the Rays and Astros for top overall seed in the AL bracket. Even though the SportsLine Projection System gives Tony La Russa’s team a whopping 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs, the stakes remain high for them.
The stakes are even higher for the Yankees. Thanks in part to an active trade deadline, the Yankees have vaulted back into relevance in the AL playoff race. They trail the first-place Rays by six games in the AL East, which is a large deficit this late in the season. The wild card spots, however, are within much closer range. The Yankees arrive in Dyersville just two games behind the rival Red Sox for the second and final AL wild card spot. As well, the Yankees are just three games behind the A’s for the top wild card berth, which of course gets to host the one-and-done playoff game.
The White Sox have been the better team to date, and the pitching matchup also favors Chicago. They’ll trot out AL Cy Young contender Lance Lynn, while the Yankees will start Andrew Heaney, who this season has an ERA of 5.45 in 18 starts for the Angels and two for the Yankees.
5. This was supposed to happen last year
Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the movie, and the human fealty to numbers that are divisible by 10 would seem to make that a more fitting year for the Field of Dreams game. However, the COVID-19 pandemic scrapped those plans. That game would’ve featured the White Sox against the Cardinals (the White Sox and Yankees was the original pairing, but COVID-driven restrictions on play outside of paired geographic divisions meant that couldn’t happen), but perhaps this year’s edition is the more fitting one. That’s because the father of Kevin Costner’s character in the film and a fulcrum for the storyline was at points in his fictional life a fan of both the Yankees and the White Sox.
Enjoy the cornball, folks.