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MLB

What were the best moments and highlights of the 2022 Field of Dreams MLB game?

The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds played an MLB game in the most nostalgic place in the baseball universe. Not heaven, but Iowa

Update:
The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds played an MLB game in the most nostalgic place in the baseball universe. Not heaven, but Iowa
Michael ReavesAFP

The Field of Dreams Game is one of the newest, and yet one of the most enduring, of MLB traditions. Built on tradition and timelessness, this fixture is only two seasons old. To put it in perspective, Major League Baseball has played games in London longer than they have in Iowa.

Fans and aficionados of the beautiful game will not feel that way, though, with every element of this game feeling known and well-trodden. It may not be heaven, but it sure feels like it to the 7,823 fans in attendance.

This year’s game was a matchup between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds and saw the teams really leaning into the nostalgia element, with the Reds choosing to wear the same style uniform that they wore during the ill-fated 1919 World Series.

The game was yet to get underway when one of the most memorable moments of the event was staged. If you haven’t seen the 1989 Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams, and for the record, there is no valid excuse for why you haven’t - go watch the film, but if you haven’t, then the entire premise is a wild set up for the main character to toss the baseball with his now-deceased father.

That cinematic moment was re-enacted, in glorious technicolor and with heaping tablespoons of sentimentality, by the father-son combo of Ken Griffey, Senior and Junior. They walked out of the corn and Ken Griffey Jr, repeating the dialogue of the movie, asked his father, “Dad, would you like to have a catch?” to which Senior replied, “I’d like that.” There was not a heart in America that was not aflutter.

For my part, and I know that I am nothing special, but I would give everything I own to throw a baseball with my father one more time. While that can never happen for me, at least here in Iowa, I and the millions of others like me can sit back and dream of a heaven where there is baseball.

While the Griffeys were tossing the ball, Cubs and Reds living Hall of Famers appeared from the corn, with legends Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams and Andre Dawson joining them on the infield for the national anthem. And then, just to make the moment perfect, Fergie Jenkins threw out the ceremonial first pitch with Johnny Bench catching. Sublime.

Almost incidentally, there was a baseball game to follow all of this. Drew Smyly pitched five innings, striking out nine and giving up four hits, on the way to a Cubs 4-2 victory. The Reds stranded a total of eight runners, and lost second baseman Jonathan India after he was hit by a pitch in the third inning.

“Obviously we wanted to go out and win that game,” said Reds manager David Bell. “Disappointed there, but there is no way anything can take away from the day we had here. It was a great experience. I heard so many people throughout our clubhouse saying it’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”

Joey Votto related that the game, and the film, means so much to him since he lost his father 14 years ago. He was humbled by the experience and the reaction of the fans in Iowa. “The welcome from people on the side of the road as we were driving in was pretty humbling. The signs, the waves; I felt like all I could do was respond. I was pretty much waving the entire trip from the airport to the ballpark.”

And that is why the Field of Dreams means so much to baseball fans. It isn’t the place or the field, but the memories that come flying at each of us, in the words of James Earl Jones, so thick that we have to brush them away with our hands. It may not quite be heaven, but we can experience it all, right here in Iowa.

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