Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Fighting Over the Field of Dreams

Its this heaven? No, its a zoning board hearing.

Filming ended in early August. Renamed Field of Dreams, the movie opened 25 years ago this month, in just 22 theaters nationwide. Mary Ungs-Sogaard, the publisher and general manager of the Dyersville Commercial, attended the premiere in Dubuque, as did others from the area. “Oh gosh, no, we didn’t think it would become big,” she says now, sheepishly. The “love letter to Iowa,” as Jarvis describes it, quickly reached the box-office top 10 and stayed there almost until the Fourth of July, ultimately earning more than $64 million domestically, along with nominations for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. To the shock of locals, it was a runaway hit.

For Hollywood, that was the end of the story. For the citizens of Dyersville, the opening credits were just starting to roll….

Denise Stillman had ambitious plans. In the land to the north and west of the movie site (which she promised would remain cost-free and undefiled), she proposed building what she called All-Star Ballpark Heaven: a giant, 24-field baseball-and-softball complex, loosely modeled after Cooperstown Dreams Park, a tournament camp near the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, in New York. When fully operational, she claimed, the facility—a kind of Cooperstown West—would be able to host 152 teams for 13 consecutive summer weeks….

What the supporters of All-Star Ballpark Heaven thought would be a natural sell has, to their confusion and frustration, turned out to be anything but. In early community meetings, a contingent of local landowners raised loud concerns. They worried that the development would dramatically increase traffic on area roads, making it dangerous for children to play outside; that the light generated at the two dozen fields would be a nuisance for nearby homeowners; that runoff from the site would cause Hewitt Creek to overflow, flooding neighbors’ land. They had aesthetic worries, too. “If you change the site physically,” says Matt Mescher, the neighbor who once watered the outfield to keep the sod alive, “without that blue sky and cornfield backdrop, you’re going to be cutting your foot off.” At a lengthy and clamorous February 2012 city-council meeting, Rita and Al Ameskamp’s son Wayne made an impassioned plea for the town to halt the project. “Don’t let them build these baseball diamonds out in the country and take our farm ground out of production and ruin our piece of heaven,” he said. Lawsuits and social-media campaigns ensued. Without irony, a columnist for The Des Moines Register expressed concern that the development would facilitate the area’s “Disneyfication.”


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 05, 2014 at 10:32 PM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball in film, field of dreams, iowa

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF


Thanks to
Vegas Watch
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP 2016 October 24: Breitbart Radio Exclusive: Curt Schilling Joins Breitbart News Rotation Weekdays 9AM to 11AM ET
(827 - 10:25pm, Oct 27)
Last: Guy Heckler's Veto

NewsblogKyle Schwarber not medically cleared to play field as World Series moves to Wrigley
(1 - 10:16pm, Oct 27)
Last: PreservedFish

Gonfalon CubsGame 2 Feelings
(94 - 10:09pm, Oct 27)
Last: Weeks T. Olive

NewsblogThe Human Splinter
(24 - 10:09pm, Oct 27)
Last: Ardo

NewsblogOT: NBA 2016-17 Preseason Thread
(350 - 9:49pm, Oct 27)
Last: Norcan

NewsblogOT - October 2016 College Football thread
(153 - 9:26pm, Oct 27)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him! This is why baseball is so white
(28 - 9:18pm, Oct 27)
Last: kthejoker

Hall of Merit2017 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(115 - 9:10pm, Oct 27)
Last: Kiko Sakata

NewsblogRob Manfred Hints At Meeting With Indians Ownership To Discuss Racist Logo
(56 - 8:58pm, Oct 27)
Last: Shibal

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-27-2016
(17 - 8:29pm, Oct 27)
Last: BDC

NewsblogGold Glove Award finalists |
(10 - 8:26pm, Oct 27)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogCubs top Indians to even World Series |
(24 - 7:08pm, Oct 27)
Last: bunyon

NewsblogWorld Series spotlight shifts to Chicago and Wrigley Field
(52 - 6:58pm, Oct 27)
Last: CFiJ

NewsblogJose Altuve voted Sporting News MLB Player of the Year for 2016
(8 - 6:29pm, Oct 27)
Last: villageidiom

NewsblogCutting class for the World Series is a valid excuse in Ohio
(19 - 6:12pm, Oct 27)
Last: Fernigal McGunnigle

Page rendered in 0.2695 seconds
45 querie(s) executed