“Dad? Would you like to have a catch?”
“I’d like that a lot.”
Or so goes the climactic scene in “Field of Dreams,” when Kevin Costner’s character, Ray, asks his dad’s ghost for a game of catch on the field Ray built so “he will come.”
For the two people who have not seen the movie, “Field of Dreams” comes about because Ray hears a voice in the cornfield, saying, “Build it and he will come.” Ray then builds a baseball field and set of bleachers on his land, where rows of corn once stood. He spends the rest of the movie gathering some key players to bring back to the farm for a game of baseball. The team taking the field for the most part is Shoeless Joe Jackson (played by Ray Liotta) and the 1919 Chicago White Sox; a team accused of “fixing” the World Series that season. Others join them so they can play games on the field that Ray built.
It ends with Ray asking his dad to play catch. Many a grown man has shed a tear over that scene. It brings back key memories for them and playing ball with their dads in their youth. For me, it was not baseball that I tossed around with my dad. He was not an athlete, per se. In his youth, he liked the game. But, what I remember playing with him was horseshoes. We had a pit in our yard in Oakland, Nebraska.
The Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, was the first stop on our recent vacation. Lisa could not recall the movie’s details, so we watched it the night before our trip.
It was so cool to see the actual field in person once we got to Dyersville. The geek in me picked “Centerfield” by John Fogarty on our iPod to play as we drove over the hill and caught our first glimpse of the farm and field.
Most people would probably say it’s just a baseball field. True. BUT, it means so much more, because of the impact it’s had on people. I’ve read stories about guys crying as they stand on the field because childhood memories flow in force about playing ball with their dads, etc.
Standing at home plate and surveying the field, I was picturing where the players were on the field. I walked out to the corn field hugging the outfield. I guessed the spot where Ray Liotta’s character walked out of the corn on to the field. I went a few feet in and walked on to the field. Like I said previously, a bit geeky.
We walked the bases. I stood on the pitcher’s mound.
Movie remembrances remain
An interesting note we learned was that the summer they were filming was a dry one in the region. The corn was not growing like they needed it to be. They wanted it about 6 feet by August. So, the production company and county politicians agreed to temporarily dam a nearby creek and reroute water to the field. That worked so well that the corn grew too high! So, to ensure they filmed the key scene at the beginning with Ray in the field, the film crew built platforms for Costner to stand on in the corn rows. Costner was able to appear as if he was as tall as the corn then.
The porch swing – which was prevalent during a few scenes – was built for the movie.
The owners of the land have a souvenir stand on site. Apparently, they have to pay the studio a users fee for items they sell related to the movie.
Speaking of which, I bought a Field of Dreams baseball. It was reasonable. All of their souvenirs are very reasonably priced.
There is some controversy going on in the area regarding the farmland. The land has been sold and owners plan to development the area into a real “Fields of Dreams” baseball/softball complex. It would host national and regional tournaments. There is concern that the development may jeopardize the actual Field of Dreams, possibly causing a redesign of it.
If you are in going to be in northeastern Iowa, make the side trip to see this place. Or, better yet, make a planned trip out there. You will not be disappointed.