‘Field of Dreams’ Hit Home As Idea, Novel, Movie, And Game

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'Field of Dreams' movie set was carved out of an Iowa farmer's cornfield.Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0

By Dan Schlossberg

Field of Dreams was much more than a 1988 movie.

The beloved baseball film, based on the W.P. Kinsella novel Shoeless Joe, has evolved into a real place, with a real ballpark, and even a spot on the major-league baseball schedule.

So what if it’s in Dyersville, Iowa and forces two teams to work one-night stands into their schedules?

Last summer, the White Sox-Yankees game played at the site drew the best television audience of any baseball game. It’s doubtful this year’s match between the Cubs and the Reds will do any better.

But even the most ardent fans don’t know everything about Field of Dreams.

For starters, movie star Kevin Costner asked the filmmakers if he could appear in the movie — even though he had to postpone another project to do it.

After he filmed it, Costner’s country band cut a song called ‘When We Get Home to Iowa,’ apparently inspired by the movie.

Costner even followed the example of the fictitious farmer and build his own field — on his ranch in Aspen. It has lights, a sound system, a pitching machine, and more. It also rents for $250,000 a week.

To make the movie, the film crew had to paint the grass with vegetable dye and lay crushed red brick on the infield to make it look more red.

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck don’t have credits in the Field of Dreams film but do have almost-invisible cameos — as fans in Fenway Park.

There’s also a mystery about the voice telling Shoeless Joe (Costner) to “built it and they will come.” Some think it was Costner or co-star Ray Liotta but Kinsella says it was Ed Harris, husband of Amy Madigan (Annie Kinsella in the movie).

One thing about Field of Dreams sticks out in my mind: why did baseball-crazy Costner not correct the flaw that turned the lefty-hitting Shoeless Joe into a right-handed batter? Babe Ruth, who also hit left-handed, actually copied his swing.

It would also have been nice for one of the broadcasters last summer to call Tim Anderson’s game-winning shot an “inside-the-corn home run.”

Just has a nice ring to it.

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ visited the Field of Dreams while hosting a baseball theme cruise on the American Queen. Among those who went with him were Tom Henke, the erstwhile Toronto closer, and long-time umpire Al Clark. E.mail Dan via ballauthor@gmail.com.

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