The Day They Killed My Field of Dreams [OPINION]
Near the end of the movie 'Field of Dreams' actor James Earl Jones has a famous speech, telling Kevin Costner's character that "people will come, Ray." He goes on to say,
The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.
It turns out something else even more powerful has won over Iowa's most popular tourist spot. Greed. Several developers, including former MLB All-Star Frank Thomas, announced on Thursday a planned $80 million expansion to the Field of Dreams site. It will be developed into a destination for youth baseball and softball. Not exactly what the voice Ray Kinsella heard in the cornfield had in mind.
When MLB announced they would play a game at the Field of Dreams site, building an 8,000-seat stadium, I was against it. I thought it would be an interruption to what makes the Field of Dreams special. It turned out I was wrong. The game featuring the Yankees and White Sox was amazing, with players emerging from the corn and a pre-game speech from Kevin Costner.
The colors of an Iowa sunset showed the entire nation why this simple field in the middle of corn was such a special place. Shortly after the conclusion of the game, MLB announced they'd be back in 2022, and this August the Cubs and Reds will play. But as so often happens, several people saw dollar signs in that Iowa corn, and I'm not talking about the price per bushel.
A group of developers from Chicago will build 9 softball and baseball fields. Dorms for the players and a hotel for fans. That will be completed by the end of 2023. But that's not all. There will also be a 100,000-square-foot field house, an amphitheater, and an RV park, according to KCRG. I'm sure the landowners got a pretty penny for their troubles.
It's no secret that the Field of Dreams is hallowed ground to me. I love the movie and have precious memories of my grandfather and me playing on the movie site. What I've always loved about visiting is that it remained largely unchanged from the way it looked shortly after filming ended in 1989. But just look at what they want to do to it!
I've seen many people saying that the project 'cheapens' the Field of Dreams. I'll go one step further. I say it kills the dream. The Field of Dreams wasn't built to be a baseball big box store. It was built to be a shrine to baseball. A monument to fathers and sons, and daughters, who come to "have a catch'. It celebrated the simple things in life! Soon, all of those 'simple' things will be gone. As will the special place where I enjoyed a catch with my grandfather, and later in life, my own son.
There is, of course, very little you or I can do to stand in the way of someone else's project. But it did warm my heart when I read on Facebook how a local company that was contacted about working on the big project turned down the lucrative offer. Someone else is standing up for our Field of Dreams. Will you?