We don't have to many places in Iowa that I consider to be sacred. Untouchable. But 'The Field of Dreams' in Dyersville makes my list. It's success as an attraction mirrors the unlikely hood of it's success as a movie. Who ever thought a film about an Iowa farmer plowing up corn and building a baseball field would resonate so much. But the film is about more than baseball. So is this field.

What makes the movie site in rural Dyersville so quaint and charming is that it has been untouched by the huge profit machine. Sure, there is a gift shop, but you aren't hit over the head with advertisements and billboards. You drive down that long gravel road and you see the field rise out of the corn. Simple. Peaceful. Perfect. You of course brought your ball and glove, so you play catch with your son, or daughter, or, dare I say it, your father.

Ever since I heard that Major League Baseball wanted to play a game at the movie site, I was against it. Yes, I know the attention would be great. I understand that out of state dollars can make a big difference. We'd be "on the map!" Finally! An MLB game in the state of Iowa, a state with no professional sports teams. The White Sox and Yankees right in our own backyard! But I don't want to be 'on the map.' I want to stay 'off the radar.' The amount of infrastructure that will be built just for this game is amazing. Parking, shuttles, cell towers, and not to mention the temporary 8,000 seat baseball stadium! What will things look like when the game is over and people leave?

At this point you may be saying to yourself, man, this guy has some attachment to this movie, this field. Well, the field itself is special to me because of a memory I made there. Not with my dad, but with my grandfather. My grandfather was always 'old' to me. He served in World War 2. He had a garden. He complained about arthritis a lot. And he never really talked sports, to me anyway. But on a chilly, cloudy day, my grandparents came down for a visit from Wisconsin, and we took them to 'The Field of Dreams.'

I don't remember much about the game. How many times I batted, or where I played in the field, but I remember a game sprouting up that day. And I remember my grandfather playing. Pitching to us. Running to tag us out on a grounder. Not being 'old'. He was suddenly 'fun'. It remains one of the only great memories I have of him, and he was a far greater man than that. I think about that game every time we visit the movie site. And it's the main reason I wish MLB would leave it alone.

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Nothing against the White Sox or Yankees, but I wish MLB would just pack up their stadium and go home. Stop ripping up more Iowa farmland. Stop trying to make something that is already perfect, even better. At the end of the movie, James Earl Jones gives a famous monologue in which he surmises, "People will come." He was right. But they came before Major League Baseball even had thoughts of playing their game here. And they'll keep coming, year after year. Just like I will. And just like Moonlight Graham,  I'll be transformed into a young boy again, playing catch with his grandfather.

Sorry Aaron Judge. You simply can't beat that memory.

 

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