Is this heaven?
No. It’s still Iowa.
The stage was set on Thursday, August 12th when Kevin Costner walked out of the Dyersville, Iowa corn field in a cinematic-fashioned intro complete with mastered camera moves and a film score. The whole thing seemed cheesy at first sight, but it was hard not to fall in love with the performance. Baseball is romantic like that. Costner’s aged-eyes scanned a place he never dreamed of seeing an actual MLB game in 32 years prior. Watching the spectacle, it just felt right. It felt familiar. It felt like home. There was a moment where he seemed to become misty-eyed, and if anyone remembers the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” it brought back important father-son or father-daughter memories to those who probably had a little water in their eyes last night as well.
Just when we thought we were getting a solo performance, there, just like out of the movie, players from the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees emerged from the corn as if ghosts themselves.
Gerrit Cole was first to break intro protocol, opting to veer away from the players march to the base paths to go shake Mr. Costner’s hand. Players from both teams followed suit thereafter. The scoreboard had a rustic appearance. The field was lined with wood-fencing and stalks of corn. Yes, there were some laughable reproduction overkills of the Iowa baseball-themed park, but it got the point across.
This is good for baseball.
No. This is great for baseball.
It’s needed. NHL has introduced outdoor games the past decade, so this is Major League Baseball’s version of thinking outside of the box, and it stuck the landing.
The game itself was straight out of a film script. Eight home runs total, two by Aaron Judge himself. It was a back and forth affair until Chicago star Tim Anderson hit a walk-off dinger in the bottom of the ninth to propel the ChiSox to the first ever win at the Field of Dreams site. A end fitting to the ’89 classic that spotlighted the 1919 White Sox, who become infamously known as the Black Sox for their roles in helping fix the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Come on! Perfect, right?
Judge ended with five RBIs. Eloy Jimenez homered as well, adding to his monster week, where he currently has five homers and 13 RBIS in 27 at-bats. Anderson went 2-5 with three ribbies.
The pitching was pretty horrific, so the only bright spot to mention here was Chicago’s Michael Kopech‘s and New York’s Wandy Peralta‘s solid performances in relief. Each shutting down the sides in their respected innings.
Throughout the game and even the commercials were packed with the beloved 1989 movie themes. How could you not relive James Earl Jones‘ end monologue and Kevin Costner and Ray Liotta’s back and forth as Ray Kinsella and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson? Imagine the downloads of the movie after this game. Whoever has royalties are probably cashing in as we speak.
As the sky turned orange with the sun’s dimming shine, the field exploded with tower lights, and we got those incredible aerial shots the classic film gave us. Of course this game felt different. Major League Baseball delivered what was promised two years ago and more. You have to hand it to commissioner Rob Manfred, his love for the history of the game is known and if last night proved anything to fans, it’s that he’s changing the league and bringing it into a new generation baseball, while keeping the history that makes it so appealing in the first place.
After the game ended how it ended and fans piled out, the field’s lights shined bright through the night and early morning, leaving us with thoughts of what we just witnessed and how next year’s game will go– the teams that will play, etc. But if we look at it in a different way, maybe that small window of time we witnessed last night was truly a taste of heaven. If so, it was perfect.