The Boys – and Girls – of Summer are back! Baseball fans around the country will gather at ballparks, sports bars and in front of televisions to watch America’s Pastime kick off the 2022 season. Finally settling the battle of billionaires and millionaires that delayed the start of the season with an owners’ lockout, fans can actually watch games live rather than rely on just reading about what could be for a season.
This year marks the first season for a female general manager in Major League Baseball, as Elizabeth Benn leads the New York Mets. The crosstown Yankees named the first female field manager in baseball history with Omahan Rachel Balkovec leading their Class A Tampa franchise.
Scorebooks will be opened, beer and hot dogs will be consumed, peanut and sunflower seed shells will litter the bottoms of stadium rows, and parents will introduce young children to the game. Meanwhile, tiny Dyersville, Iowa, will embrace fans from all over, reliving childhood memories by running the bases at the Field of Dreams movie site.
I’ve visited the site three times over the past decade, and I feel like a kid each time. From running around the field, trying to be the great baseball player I never even remotely came close to being – I excelled at warming the bench – to exploring the cornfield in the outfield, each experience at the Field of Dreams is special.
My last visit, in Fall 2021, included a tour of the farmhouse. The house was previously off-limits for tours. With a volunteer dressed as one of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox (the name given to the White Sox players accused of being paid to lose the World Series), visitors see the kitchen, dining room and living room where scenes from the still-popular 1989 film starting Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. The house can be reserved for overnight stays, though I’m sure you need to be a millionaire to afford a stay.
It’s always fun to watch first-time visitors explore the farm. People play mock games if they didn’t bring a bat and glove. Kids of all ages run the bases. During my visit, which was with other writers during a workshop in nearby Dubuque, the corn was tall and made for a fun walk-thru. I actually walked the path to the new stadium built for Major League Baseball’s “Field of Dreams” game, which started last season.
The gift shop is new since my 2014 visit. It’s perfect for souvenirs with T-shirts, caps, baseballs and more available. I may have left with a shirt or two.
Ghost players mural
After you’ve run the bases and viewed where Ray and Annie Kinsella sat to discuss bills and whether they could keep the farm, head into town to check out the Ghost Players mural.
Afterward, visit the Build It Exhibit to take in information about the movie and pose for a photo with a film site backdrop. While there, look at a baseball used during the 1919 World Series. The exhibit is located at 310 2nd Street SE, No. 103.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a baseball fan or a movie enthusiast, there’s something special about visiting Dyersville’s Field of Dreams attractions. And, now, as umpires around the country will say, “Play ball!”