DYERSVILLE, Iowa — The intimate crowd, the movie set, all that corn and just playing a major league game in Iowa were the highlights for attendees at Thursday’s second Field of Dreams MLB game.
The actual competition on the field couldn’t quite match last year’s exploits when the White Sox crushed the Yankees in a snap, but the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds still had fun.
“The day we had here can’t take anything away from us,” said Reds manager David Bell after his team’s 4-2 defeat. “It’s a great experience. I’ve heard so many people in our clubhouse say it’s something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
The winning team agreed, especially Cubs starter Drew Smyly, who served fantastically. He was joined by his wife and daughter in celebrating his fifth birthday. He was asked about the highlight of the day — besides pitching five shutout innings.
“Just being a tourist, taking it all in,” he said. “You just feel like a kid again. You’re in the middle of Iowa, playing a baseball game. It is great.
“I hope she remembers it. I know I will.”
The players toured the film set before playing to a sold-out audience that numbered just 7,823 fans. It brought back a feeling many major league players hadn’t experienced in a long time.
“It felt like a college vibe,” said Nico Hoerner, Cubs shortstop. “Definitely not normal. I could see a horse fairly easily from the shortstop. It was definitely quieter than normal. I had to turn the PitchCom down.”
Not everything went perfectly as Reds second baseman Jonathan India left due to a bruised left leg. Bell was relieved to find that India had not sustained a fracture and declared it a commonplace. Cubs catcher Willson Contreras also had a scary moment when he twisted his ankle after rounding second base in the third inning but stayed in the game.
“The field conditions were great,” said Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom before the first pitch. “I didn’t know what to expect but everything was great.”
Manager David Ross said he was distracted all night “looking over the corn” but was honored to be part of the game, which will not take place in 2023 due to construction.
The day and night was also an eye-opening experience for Japanese rookie Seiya Suzuki.
“There aren’t many corn fields like this in Japan,” Suzuki said dryly.
Nor are there many major league games with such an intimate feel. A lifetime memory was the post-game narration that came from both sides.
“It’s very difficult to put into words what it meant,” Bell said. “It was just perfect.”
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34386618/chicago-cubs-cincinnati-reds-soak-experience-field-dreams-game-iowa Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds soak in experience at Field of Dreams game in Iowa