Yankees to face White Sox on cinematic 'Field of Dreams'

New York (AFP) –


Major League Baseball reality meets cinematic magic on Thursday when the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox play on the "Field of Dreams" at Dyersville, Iowa.

The rural setting is where the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams" was filmed. The sports fantasy starring Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta and Burt Lancaster became an iconic picture about the American pastime.

Since then, the site has become a popular tourist attraction, a ballpark built adjacent to a cornfield in Iowa.

MLB had hoped to stage a game there last year but the event was pushed back a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now the Yankees and White Sox will turn the fantasy of elite ballplayers competing on Midwest farmland into reality, although it will be current stars rather than icons from a bygone era mystically exiting a cornfield.

"I'm excited," White Sox All-Star closing relief pitcher Liam Hendriks said. "It's not every day you get a chance to be the first major league game in a state. It's kind of cool.

"I'm excited about running through the cornfields, because who wouldn't be? I want to be able to walk on the set and sit in those wooden bleachers and walk through the corn onto the actual field."

Costner and other actors from the film are expected to attend the game, which will be played on a specially built 8,000-seat ballpark to meet MLB specifications.

The right-field wall will have a window to show the cornfield beyond and there is a path south from the park through the cornstalks to the actual Field of Dreams movie site.

"It's a great idea," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

"A huge movie in American history and certainly especially when it comes to our national pastime... there's absolute excitement.

"I'm sure there will be some nostalgia. There will be some of that realization of something you've seen for a lot of your life, and looking forward to that, driving up on it."

- 'Really cool' -

Yankees 30-year-old southpaw starting pitcher Andrew Heaney hadn't even been born when the movie debuted but is excited at the chance to be part of a special MLB moment.

"It's going to be really cool," Heaney said. "Never been there, never seen it -- seen the movie, but I don't think I've ever played baseball in Iowa, or I don't think I've gotten to play in any of the special events games for MLB either, so that'll be fun."

Boone has been involved with several such unique contests, including the Yankees facing arch rival Boston at London in a two-game series in 2019 and a 2016 contest that was the first MLB regular-season game on an active military base at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

"These one-off, cool event games, I think have been really exciting for our game and certainly for myself getting to experience them at different levels has been really neat," Boone said.

At 67-47, the White Sox lead the American League Central division while the Yankees, 62-51, are two games behind Boston for the last wildcard playoff berth.