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Friday, August 13, 2021

Field of Dreams game was great, now MLB should expand on build-a-stadium concept in more locations

The first time was for the game at Fort Bragg, between the Marlins and Braves on July 3, 2016. After the contest, the grandstands were dismantled, leaving a multipurpose field on the grounds. Same thing with the Dyersville location; the stands will be dismantled in the next few weeks, but the field will remain.

Now, MLB, it’s time to expand this idea.

But instead of just bathing in the nostalgia of a favorite baseball movie — as much as I’d love a ballpark constructed in Los Angeles to look like The Sandlot’s field — MLB should use the idea to leave a legacy. Find locations of actual historical significance, build a ballpark and throw a celebration. Then, after the crowds leave and the stands are taken down, let the field live on as a testing ground for the next generation of potential major league stars.

How cool would it be for high school players (and little leaguers, with field size adjustments that wouldn’t be impossible) to step up to the same plate on a field that opened with big-leaguers digging into that same dirt? To roam the outfield, diving on that same grass?

Let’s make it happen. First, a thought: To replicate the Fort Bragg/Dyersville situations, there needs to be land available. As awesome as it would be to build a stadium where, let’s say, Josh Gibson and his Homestead Grays played, building in the middle of Pittsburgh is more complicated than building on a military base or cornfield, right?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2021 at 02:26 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: field of dreams

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   1. villageidiom Posted: August 13, 2021 at 03:07 PM (#6034278)
The inspiration for the dimensions of Corn Field was reportedly Comiskey. I'd be heavily in favor of them creating temporary fields aligned with the dimensions of bygone ballparks. Let's see the Polo Grounds! Sick's Stadium! The Other Wrigley Field!
   2. catomi01 Posted: August 13, 2021 at 03:24 PM (#6034279)
Good a place as any...we (I) criticize MLB for a lot, but they did good last night.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2021 at 03:31 PM (#6034282)
Writer Kevin Kaduk suggested the fields by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, which might be kinda neat. I've seen a few suggestions for a midnight game in Alaska, although I imagine that won't do so well in the ratings.


I wish Tiger Stadium still stood so they could play a game there.
   4. Lassus Posted: August 13, 2021 at 03:54 PM (#6034285)
I think last night was awesome, but I think this article is just wrong and misplaced. It was awesome and notable simply and primarily because of the movie.

I mean, I guess I just think no one will care at all about what Fagan is imagining. They care about this BECAUSE of the famous movie. Last night: A+. This article? D+, because I'm nice.
   5. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 13, 2021 at 04:29 PM (#6034290)
I get the basic idea, and baseball is probably better-equipped to use nostalgia and history to create events like this than the other major sports - going to Cooperstown feels a bit like a pilgrimage for that reason. My question is, how many places are there in the country that have the kind of obvious historic significance to generate enough interest (or revenue) to do something like this?

Would an early place where Jackie Robinson played fit this (like Montreal, or his first game was, I believe, at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, NJ)? Or is it more like a Hollywood thing - like playing in Durham, NCand doing the whole Bull Durham thing? Or The Natural? Maybe I don't actually get it...
   6. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 13, 2021 at 04:35 PM (#6034292)
I mean, I guess I just think no one will care at all about what Fagan is imagining. They care about this BECAUSE of the famous movie. Last night: A+. This article? D+, because I'm nice.


I don't really see the purpose of building a pop-up baseball stadium in Pittsburgh. But there are other sites that would work, places where they don't usually have Major League Baseball. SoSHu (I think) suggested last night having a game where they play the midnight game in Alaska; that would be cool. A real game in Cooperstown during Hall of Fame weekend would be great. Maybe you could squeeze one into the Elysian Fields in Hoboken.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2021 at 04:38 PM (#6034293)
I think you're right in that any duplication won't get nearly the coverage and ratings this did, but there are SO many games, I think it's fun to spread games to non-MLB ballparks like the Civil Rights game, the Little League game, the Fort Bragg game. Playing in the Dominican Republic would be a cool idea - I'd love to see how fans there react. I'd also like to see more games in minor league stadiums, I know the union objects but I think its a good idea to bring MLB to everyone (especially since they just killed minor league baseball in so many towns). I think 8,000 people in Wichita would be more jazzed to see the 18th Royals/White Sox game of the year than 12,000 people in Kansas City.
   8. winnipegwhip Posted: August 13, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6034296)
I think a game should be played in New Jersey in salute to that other baseball film masterpiece we can all relate to...."Beer League"

I would trust Artie Lange would provide an entrance as memorable as Costner.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2021 at 05:06 PM (#6034300)
Or Hoboken, with a train running through the outfield, in a tribute to "Brewster's Millions."
   10. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: August 13, 2021 at 05:10 PM (#6034301)
There were various proposals floating about here and on other websites, but here's a list, with some possible names

1) Dominican Republic (Latin America Classic, maybe rotate through with Mexico City, Aruba, Venezuela if the situation ever clears up there)
2) Cooperstown (Hall of Fame Game)
3) Alaska (Midnight Classic)
4) Birmingham (in honor of the Birmingham Black Barons, call it the Negro Leagues Memorial Game)

5) and maybe one more game that each year would visit a minor league stadium (perhaps starting with the Fargo, ND in honor of Roger Maris) and call it, oh, I don't know, the Small Town Classic

With the Field of Dreams game you get 6 games you could sprinkle throughout the season

April - Latin America Classic
May - Negro Leagues Memorial Game
June - Midnight Classic (right around the longest day of the year)
July - Small Town Classic
August - Field of Dreams Game
September - Hall of Fame Game




   11. DanG Posted: August 13, 2021 at 07:07 PM (#6034316)
I wish Tiger Stadium still stood so they could play a game there.
The stadium is gone, but there's still plenty of baseball being played at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. It's the home field for Schoolcraft College of the Michigan Community College Athletic Conference.

Old Tiger Stadium Transformed into The Corner Ballpark
   12. DanG Posted: August 13, 2021 at 07:26 PM (#6034320)
Detroit also has one of the last remaining Negro league ballparks. Hamtramck Stadium is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is in the process of renovation after decades of neglect.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: August 13, 2021 at 07:36 PM (#6034322)
The other day I used a photo of Wrigley as my webex background and one of my co-workers asked if I used to play there. I suppose there must have been times when Wrigley hosted a HS championship or something (not that I ever played in one of those).

I think this is generally a decent idea but I'd rather see them use a program like this to give a major boost to their "RBI" program (or whatever their urban baseball outreach effort is called these days). So yeah, that would mean a pop-up stadium in places like Chicago, Pitt, etc. But if you're making a serious effort at increasing participation by less-priveleged kids, they need places to play. Pop up a stadium and then leave behind a couple of nice baseball and softball fields in/near disadvantaged areas.

The suggestion of the NeL museum seems an obvious one that might fit both purposes. I might also suggest taking the "hold the draft at the CWS" a step further to play a game there during CWS. (Might make extra sense if the reduction of the minors means MLB will have to rely more on college ball.) Maybe something for the Tri-Cities! :-)
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: August 13, 2021 at 09:14 PM (#6034334)
Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, NJ was the home of the NY Black Yankees in the 1930s and 1940s and is one of the few remaining Negro League stadiums remaining. It's part of the Great Falls National Historic District.

Pioneer HOFer Larry Doby was from Paterson and played HS BB and FB in that stadium. it's currently a 70 percent minority city.

   15. Brian C Posted: August 13, 2021 at 09:41 PM (#6034337)
The risk here, though, is turning something unique and meaningful into just another thing. The cautionary tale here is the NHL, which had a couple of outdoor games in classic venues in the late aughts that went over like gangbusters. So in response they ran the idea into the ground and now there are multiple outdoor games every year and no one really gives a crap anymore.

The other thing here too is that MLB kinda lucked out last night. What if the game would have been an 11-2 blowout? Or what if, say, the Cubs had been scheduled to play instead of the White Sox and shown up with a squad of AAA scrubs? In all likelihood, the game probably wouldn't have been getting as much attention today. But it was an amazing game on top of being in a special setting, kind of a perfect storm. It's cool! But largely because all the elements came together to make it something that people will remember.

Which isn't to say that MLB shouldn't do this again. But space them out. Keep them special.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 14, 2021 at 12:26 AM (#6034355)
might also suggest taking the "hold the draft at the CWS" a step further to play a game there during CWS


The Royals and Tigers played in Omaha just before the CWS in 2019.
   17. SandyRiver Posted: August 14, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6034371)
The Portland Sea Dogs (Bosox' 2A farm club) have had a corn field game every year for the last several. (Except for 2000 of course.) I think it's during the season's final homestand. Hadlock Field only holds 7K, however. Bring in the Yankees and maybe Stanton or Judge could park one on I-295, which runs behind the imitation Monster in LF.
   18. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 14, 2021 at 01:45 PM (#6034382)
I suppose there must have been times when Wrigley hosted a HS championship or something

Lou Gehrig famously hit two home runs at a high-school all-star game at Wrigley in 1920.
   19. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 14, 2021 at 03:44 PM (#6034390)
One thing that I've always found interesting about NPB is that every team plays several league games each season at fields that aren't regular NPB parks. Eight of the 12 NPB teams are located either in the Tokyo metropolitan area, or the Osaka-Nagoya-Kobe area. Ten of the 12 are on the main island of Honshu, with one in Hokkaido and and one in Kyushu. This means that there are large areas of the country that don't have an NPB team, and many of those communities have large (20 to 30 thousand seat) stadiums that can accommodate NPB games. So NPB schedules games in some of those stadiums, so that other parts of the country can get a taste of an NPB league game. For example, in today's schedule, the BayStars/Swallows game was scheduled to be played at the 30,000 seat Niigata Prefectural Baseball Stadium in Niigata. (It got rained out, but that's beside the point). This week, the Tuesday/Wednesday Swallows/Giants series is played in Matsuyama, at Matsuyama Central Park Baseball Stadium, which also holds over 30,000 spectators.
   20. Brian C Posted: August 14, 2021 at 05:45 PM (#6034405)
Niigata Prefectural Baseball Stadium
Matsuyama Central Park Baseball Stadium

You know, the lack of corporate naming in Japanese baseball really is refreshing...
   21. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2021 at 06:13 PM (#6034409)
You know, the lack of corporate naming in Japanese baseball really is refreshing...

The Ham Fighers couldn't agree more! :-)

#18: I didn't know that but was thinking of more recent vintage. I look much younger than my 100 years.
   22. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: August 14, 2021 at 07:50 PM (#6034420)
I get the basic idea, and baseball is probably better-equipped to use nostalgia and history to create events like this than the other major sports
I would have agreed with you before Manfred rolled over and decided that baseball exists primarily to be gambled upon.
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 15, 2021 at 11:20 AM (#6034477)
I get the basic idea, and baseball is probably better-equipped to use nostalgia and history to create events like this than the other major sports


I would have agreed with you before Manfred rolled over and decided that baseball exists primarily to be gambled upon.

Which is pretty much what baseball was back in its infancy. And well into the 1950's and possibly beyond,** many bars and pool rooms in every city and town had a concealed back room fixed up with Western Union machines and a blackboard for posting odds on baseball games and horse races from all over the country. It was a fascinating culture, filled with colorful characters, and I'm somewhat surprised that so far nobody's thought to make a movie about it.

** In fact as late as 1971 I was in one such room in a pool hall in Jackson, Tennessee.
   24. pikepredator Posted: August 15, 2021 at 01:18 PM (#6034490)
The inspiration for the dimensions of Corn Field was reportedly Comiskey. I'd be heavily in favor of them creating temporary fields aligned with the dimensions of bygone ballparks. Let's see the Polo Grounds! Sick's Stadium! The Other Wrigley Field!


Heck yeah!! Ebbetts field too.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: August 15, 2021 at 01:19 PM (#6034491)
I get the basic idea, and baseball is probably better-equipped to use nostalgia and history to create events like this than the other major sports


It isn't just nostalgia and history that makes it work. Baseball is unique in that the field itself stretches beyond its natural boundaries. You could put up a football field in the middle of a cornfield, but so what? It's still just the 120 yard by 53 yard rectangle of playing space. Basketball and hockey are similar, except with the added problem that they're naturally indoor games (hockey's outdoor ventures haven't been to mystical locations, but stadiums used for other sports).

One thing that made this game more visually interesting, and could be the same for future events, is that the cornfields are not just a backdrop, but the place where the ball ends up in the sport's most glamorous play. The corn would just be out of bounds in other sports - here it was the destination. That incorporates the surroundings in a way that just isn't available for any of the other team sports.
   26. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 15, 2021 at 03:56 PM (#6034503)
It was a fascinating culture, filled with colorful characters, and I'm somewhat surprised that so far nobody's thought to make a movie about it.

You see some of that in the flashback scenes in "Casino". (I would like to see a whole movie about it!)
   27. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 15, 2021 at 04:15 PM (#6034505)

The inspiration for the dimensions of Corn Field was reportedly Comiskey. I'd be heavily in favor of them creating temporary fields aligned with the dimensions of bygone ballparks. Let's see the Polo Grounds! Sick's Stadium!


MLB should play a game in the parking lot of this Lowe's Hardware where Sick's Stadium once stood.
   28. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 15, 2021 at 05:51 PM (#6034514)
MLB should play a game in the parking lot of this Lowe's Hardware where Sick's Stadium once stood.

Needs a pregame spot with Michael Pineda asking a blue-vested Lowe's employee, "Do you have any topical adhesives that won't show up on TV?"
   29. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 15, 2021 at 11:34 PM (#6034547)
Yeah, let's not go overboard (not that I trust Manfred one iota not to go overboard). The Dyersville site was a one-of-a-kind scenario. I do like the idea of returning there every year.
   30. SandyRiver Posted: August 16, 2021 at 09:08 AM (#6034565)
many bars and pool rooms in every city and town had a concealed back room fixed up with Western Union machines and a blackboard for posting odds on baseball games and horse races from all over the country. It was a fascinating culture, filled with colorful characters, and I'm somewhat surprised that so far nobody's thought to make a movie about it.

The Sting? (Though there's no baseball connection.) Or was there irony in that post?
   31. Perry Posted: August 16, 2021 at 01:20 PM (#6034590)
The Sting? (Though there's no baseball connection.) Or was there irony in that post?


Yeah, I assumed he was referring to The Sting.

BTW, although The Sandlot takes place (apparently, based on Benny the Jet being a Dodgers fan) in LA, it was actually filmed in Salt Lake City.

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