Since Kevin Costner found himself taking orders from the corn in 1989’s Field of Dreams, the baseball field his character built in Iowa has become one of the state’s biggest attractions. Hundreds of thousands of people who were moved by the magical field’s nostalgic vapors mapped their cross-country trips through Dyersville, Iowa, in the hopes of connecting with Joe Jackson, their own fathers, or the simple restorative powers of the crack of the bat.
On Sunday, the family that’s owned the field and the nearby white farmhouse sold their entire 193-acre farm to a Chicago couple who intends to transform the site into a baseball academy with additional fields and indoor facilities, according to the New York Times. The new owners intend to preserve the historic field as it was, with Ray Kinsella’s first-base side bleachers, and hope to replicate actual Major League parks with other new fields.
I’m glad the field will continue to be open, but I will mourn the loss of its modest simplicity. Couples were married on the field, ashes were scattered, and kids frolicked on the basepaths. Mike and Denise Stillman, the new owners, clearly revere the film – they named their company after a famous line from it, “Go the Distance, LLC” – but their proposed All-Star Baseball Heaven training facility for slugging prodigies will inevitably infringe of some of the field’s charm. (The new owners have mentioned the possibility of an indoor domed facility.)
Have you heeded the words for James Earl Jones and visited the field of dreams in Dyersville? What was your experience like?