Major League Baseball’s Field of Dreams game is just a week away, and the Cincinnati Reds are ready for it.
During the Aug. 11 game that acts as an homage to the classic baseball film Field of Dreams, the Reds will take on the Chicago Cubs in Dyersville, Iowa. It will be just the second such game ever, with the first occurring in 2021 between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.
During a virtual media briefing on Aug. 3, Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer said the Reds are looking forward to being part of both MLB history and, in a sense, movie history.
“I grew up watching it. It was actually on TV two nights ago and I watched the whole thing. It’s an incredible movie and I’m looking forward to being out there,” Farmer said. “I think wearing the 1919 uniform and walking out of the corn, and after everybody watching it [the White Sox/Yankees game] from last year, I think everybody is pretty excited.”
The Field of Dreams game is a regular-season matchup that counts toward MLB season standings like all other games do. But instead of taking place within Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park or Chicago’s Wrigley Field, it’s played at the Iowa filming site of the 1989 movie Field of Dreams. In the movie, Kevin Costner builds a baseball field on his land that draws the ghosts of legendary baseball players.
During the game this month, the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs will play at a stadium constructed specifically for MLB games. According to Wikipedia, “The field constructed for the film, which has been operated as a tourist destination since 1989, could not be brought to MLB game standards without permanently altering major features of the property and destroying its movie authenticity, so it was decided to build a separate playing facility at a distance of approximately 500 ft (150 m) in the cornfields.”
Farmer said he had an appreciation for baseball history, having written a school report on Shoeless Joe Jackson (played by the late Ray Liotta in the film) and the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, in which members of the Chicago White Sox were banned after reportedly throwing that year’s World Series against the Reds in order to make money from gamblers. But even without the sport’s dark mark, Farmer said he enjoyed one simple aspect to last year’s Field of Dreams game.
“I think the coolest part was seeing the scoreboard and watching guys actually manually going up there and changing the scoreboard, because we never see that, honestly,” Farmer said.
It seems that the Field of Dreams game is becoming an annual tradition – and an event with some prestige and revenue generation. The first Field of Dreams game was to have been played by the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals in 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the Sox played the New York Yankees in Iowa on Aug. 12, 2021, marking the first time that an MLB game had been staged within the state. Costner and the two teams walked out of the nearby cornfield as a tribute to one iconic movie scene. The White Sox won 9-8, and the highly anticipated game drew 5.9 million viewers.
Farmer said Costner’s appearance made the 2021 Field of Dreams game special.
“I thought it was pretty cool watching Kevin Costner come out of the corn and seeing, like, [Yankees outfielder] Aaron Judge and all those guys walk out. It was pretty cool watching that,” Farmer said. “And I’m not sure if Kevin’s going to be there [for the Reds’ game] or not, but that would be really cool to see him or to see any of the actors or actresses who are there. I’m a big movie buff, I love watching [them], so I’m excited to be actually on a place where they had a movie being set.”
Farmer said that the Reds are preparing for the game in the same ways they do for games throughout the rest of the season. The Reds will play the Cubs in Dyersville for the Field of Dreams game on Aug. 11, will have a travel day on Aug. 12 and then will play the remaining games of the series at Great American Ball Park on Aug. 13 and 14.
“I think the only difference is that we’re traveling on a day that we were going to play rather than the night before, and then we have to, you know, prepare our bodies for that and kind of just have fun with it,” he said. “You know, it’s not going to feel like a normal baseball game, I guess you could say, but the bases are the same, distance to the mound is the same distance, so we’re just going to have fun with it.”
“I think the biggest thing will be wearing the old-school uniforms; that brings a different aspect to our mentality of playing the game. You know, you put on an old uniform and… I don’t know, it’s just a different feel to playing baseball,” Farmer said, adding that the Reds may wear their pants high with their stockings showing rather than the full length of the pant reaching their ankles.
The whole experience could take him back to what it was like playing in small towns in the minor leagues.
“I think this might bring us back to our minor-league bus days when we’re traveling for eight hours, 10 hours a night, going from one city to the other, like going from Omaha to Oklahoma City. Kind of like that, seeing all the small towns, grinding through that,” Farmer said.
The Field of Dreams game on Aug. 11 isn’t the only event, MLB officials told reporters. A minor-league game between the Quad Cities River Bandits and the Cedar Rapids Kernels will take place in Dyersville on Aug. 9. Fans attending either event will have plenty to see and experience, officials said.
In the end, the Reds will play to win, Farmer said.
“Every game counts for us. You know, 162 games, every game counts, whether it’s selfishly or for the team. We’re out there trying to put up numbers and trying to win a ballgame,” Farmer said. “Just a different atmosphere. It’ll probably make us play even better. Who knows?”
As of Aug. 4, the Cincinnati Reds are 42-62 for the 2022 season, which puts them in third place in the NL Central and seventh-to-last in the entire MLB. Earlier this year, baseball experts had said that the Reds were on pace for a 125-loss season, the lowest for any team since 1900.
The Reds will play the Milwaukee Brewers on the road for a three-game series beginning Aug. 5.
Below, watch a clip from Field of Dreams.
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