1:38 PM PDT, August 13, 2021
If you build it, they will come.
And come they did, in both the 1989 film “Field of Dreams,” and a Major League Baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees Thursday night, played in a baseball diamond carved in the same Iowa cornfield used in the movie.
In the film, a down-on-his-luck farmer, played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice telling him to build a baseball field on his farm. Sure enough, he builds it, and it pays off, as ball players long dead emerge from the cornfields and take the field.
While ghosts of baseball past didn’t turn up for Thursday’s match — let’s face it, that would have been downright creepy — the Yanks and Sox did, as well as Kevin Costner and an audience of 8,000.
The special uniforms worn by the teams were “inspired by teams that played in the early 20th century, as they play the first Major League game in Iowa,” according to MLB.com.
And both teams brought their A game, delivering one of the more exciting contests of the season thus far, with the White Sox edging out the Yanks by one, with a score of 9–8. Seeing the first homer smacked over the wall and disappear into the corn stalks was unexpectedly thrilling.
The victory for the Sox, while sweet, was also symbolically redemptive: The spirit players that showed up in the film were members of the infamous 1919 White Sox, who threw the World Series and were subsequently banned for life from the MLB, as portrayed in another late-80s ball flick, “Eight Men Out.”
In perhaps the most poignant, breathtaking nod to the film, the teams entered the diamond by way of the cornfields, stepping out from the stalks behind Kevin Costner, wearing expressions of wonderment, all of them clearly thrilled to be taking part in such a unique and special event.
As Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone told The New York Times, “When we walked out through the cornfields and saw the stadium, just the perfection of the night, with Kevin Costner standing out there in short center field, that’s a moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”