- Written by Todd Moning
If you build it they will come …
They built it, and people are still coming to Dyersville, Iowa, to visit the Field of Dreams movie site, which reopened for the 2006 season April 1.
In the 1989 movie Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a financially struggling Iowa farmer who hears a ghostly voice telling him, “If you build it, they will come.”
Ray interprets the message as a command to build a baseball field in his cornfield. To the astonishment of his wife and daughter, he constructs a beautiful field, complete with bleachers and floodlights.
Soon, the ghosts of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson and other infamous 1919 Chicago Black Sox players — those banned from baseball for allegedly throwing the 1919 World Series — begin to emerge from the cornfield to play ball.
It took three days for crews to carve the ball diamond in Don Lansing’s 91-year-old cornfield in Dyersville. Filming took place over 14 weeks in summer 1988.
Today the ball field remains in its original condition.
Visitors can run the bases; wander in and out of the corn; roam the outfield like Ray Liotta, who played Shoeless Joe in the movie. They can sit in the bleachers and envision the scene in which Ray Kinsella and his dead father have a much-belated game of catch. And they can bring balls, gloves and bats to play ball.
Since May 1989 more than a million visitors have come to this pastoral setting, perhaps stirred by the movie’s sentimentality.
Field of Dreams is more than a baseball movie. In fact, it doesn’t have lot of baseball action. In the movie the field becomes a place where people who have sacrificed parts of their lives for others are given a second chance.
The movie’s themes of fathers and sons, healing old wounds, and regaining what was lost linger in the air like dirt after a hard slide.
That might explain the movie's broad appeal, and why visitors continue to visit the Field of Dreams site today.
Dyersville is 25 miles west of Dubuque, and 200 miles west of Chicago, Il. The Field of Dreams Movie Site is open April through November, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission and parking (the lot can accommodate motorhomes) are free.
Caps, T-shirts, mugs, videos, pennants and other souvenirs are available in the souvenir shop, located near the field. The Kinsella home as used in the movie also is onsite.
On Sunday afternoons from June through September, a community team called the Ghost Players emerges from the cornfield to play hour-long games with visitors.
More information: www.fieldofdreamsmoviesite
Dyersville also is home to the National Farm Toy Museum (www.nftmonline.com) and the Dyer-Botsford Doll Museum (563-875-2414).