MLB will reap the rewards and accolades when the Yankees and White Sox play tonight in Dyersville, Iowa, but that’s not the real story…
MLB and Fox-TV are here in force to cover and report on a unique and entertaining baseball event that is set in, of all places Dyersville Iowa, whose population falls far below tonight’s expected attendance.
Set against the background of a movie that is not as much about baseball as it is about the American culture and the dreams contained within, the “Field Of Dreams” is ingrained forever in any fan of baseball, and millions of others who simply appreciate a good movie.
She will not be there tonight, but the gala in Iowa would not have been possible if not for the efforts of a suburban Chicago woman who took it upon herself to fulfill a dream of her own.
As the Chicago Tribune reported, Denise Stillman, a health care consultant and businesswoman from Oak Lawn, led a group of investors who bought the property in 2012 with the idea of turning it into a mecca for youth baseball tournaments.
Things took off in a different direction when she died of cancer in 2018.
Because, “Yet, like the vision of Ray Kinsella, the obsessed farmer played by Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams,” Stillman’s plan slowly became realized when her husband, Tom Mietzel, picked up on his wife’s dream.
With the hopes the major league game Stillman envisioned years ago will be the spark that makes MLB see the potential, MLB agreed, and the Field of Dreams game was born and placed on the regular-season schedule in 2020.
Alas, COVID intervened, and the game scheduled for last August was canceled.
Not so this year, and the game between the Yankees and White Sox are on for tonight, and Ms. Spillman’s dream is fulfilled.
MLB: Rarely Does It Listen
Rarely, if ever, do fans break through the stoicism and entrenchment of Major League Baseball, with suggestions to improve the game, and it’ll be surprising if Commissioner Rob Manfred grants her a moment during his comments to FOX-TV and others, without shining the light on himself.
But that should not overshadow the significance of the game itself, regardless of the outcome of an important game in the standings, especially for the Yankees.
Instead, it should be a time for baseball to take a bow for following through to present a nostalgic look at why Baseball is still America’s National Pastime.
But just the same, all fans should take a moment to remember Denise Stillman as attending fans and players walk through the cornfields and on their way to their seats and positions on the field behind them.
Because if not for her, it’s doubtful the suits at MLB in New York would have had the ingenuity to see the opportunity before them in making the Field Of Dreams game possible.
The game will begin in less than an hour, and I would imagine many have already pressed the “record” button on their remote (me too) because there is no assurance this is anything but a once-in-a-lifetime major league game.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Ricky Revere Too bad it’s all a sham. They’re not playing on the Field of Dreams. They’re playing on a minor league-created field across the field. Shame on MLB!
Russell Van Neel Just love it simply the best for love of Baseball
Theresa Engel Loving this I’m not ashamed to say – it’s emotional.
Jim Thompson It is NO Sham!! This is a continuation of the team that is Baseball!! Facing a Tough year……MLB has given us all the Gift of Our Game being played in a Cornfield in Iowa!! I hope this Game becomes a Yearly Tradition!!!
Arthur Schwartz Fabulous pre-game show, electrifying comeback but heartbreaking loss
Laurie Girardot What a great article!! Thanks, Steve!
Sonny Senomar Epic opening ceremony. Good game, disappointing outcome. However, It doesn’t make sense to leave a struggling pitcher on the mound and wait until he gives up 7 runs before you take him out.
Almost a clean sweep in comments expressing delight about the game, but most especially the pre-game ceremonies, interviews, and Kevin Costner’s contributions during the telecast.
Correct me if I’m wrong, though, but I did not hear one mention of Denise Stillman…