Giants

In Iowa cornfield, White Sox win first Field of Dreams game

Giants

Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa.

But for nine innings on Thursday, Iowa became heaven for locals who attended Major League Baseball's first game in the state.

It was played in the middle of a cornfield, on the Field of Dreams, just a corn maze away from the field and farm house where the classic 1989 movie of the same name was filmed. And the game had a thrilling Hollywood ending.

The Chicago White Sox defeated the New York Yankees 9-8 after Tim Anderson hit a dramatic cornstalk walk-off home run as the national pastime and movie magic intersected in Dyersville, a city with a population of 4,130.

Ray Kinsella, Kevin Costner's character in the Best-Picture-nominated movie, was inspired to build a baseball field on his farm after a voice over the cornfields whispered, "If you build it, he will come."

Major League Baseball built it, and the people most definitely came, just as Kinsella was promised by Terence Mann (played by James Earl Jones). Some in attendance possibly even paid upwards of the $1,000 asking price that tickets were commanding on the secondary market.

The 8,000-seat stadium, constructed for the game, had a barn-like silhouette batter's eye, hand-operated scoreboard and temporary bleachers that could seat double the town's population.

Most stunning of all were the acres of corn surrounding the field. In the movie, ghosts of past baseball players vanished into the stalks. On Thursday, it was baseballs that disappeared into them.

Chicago's Lance Lynn threw the first major league pitch in the state of Iowa, delivering to D.J. LeMahieu, who worked the count full before singling up the middle.

 

In the bottom of the inning, Jose Abreu drilled a liner over the leftfield wall and into the cornfield for a first-inning home run that gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead.

Aaron Judge homered deep into the corn in the third inning, blasting a three-run home run to right to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.

Tim Anderson's RBI double and Eloy Jimenez's three-run homer in the bottom of the third put the White Sox up 5-3.

Seby Zavala added a two-run corn shot in the fourth to increase the Chicago lead to 7-3.

Brett Gardner hit a solo shot for the Yankees in the sixth inning.

White Sox closer Liam Hendriks entered in the top of the ninth nursing a three-run lead. He allowed a two-out, two-run homer to Judge that pulled the Yankees within 7-6.

Hendriks walked Joey Gallo, putting the tying run on base. Giancarlo Stanton then drilled the first pitch he saw from Hendriks just over the left field wall to give the Yankees an 8-7 lead.

Zack Britton came in for the save attempt in the bottom of the inning, issuing a one-out walk to Zavala. Anderson then crushed a walk-off two-run home run into the corn to right, ending a game that included eight homers and gave new meaning to the movie's quote "Go the distance."

The dramatic ninth inning completed the first Field of Dreams game, which was originally scheduled for August 2020 before being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The teams, which wore retro jerseys for the game, flew into Dubuque, Iowa on Thursday and made a 25-mile bus ride to Dyersville, per MLB.com.

The pregame festivities began with Costner walking out of the cornstalks and onto the field, baseball in hand. As he stood just beyond the infield, he turned to see players from the Yankees and White Sox emerge from the cornstalks -- just like the players in the movie -- and make their way to the base paths.

Costner then addressed the crowd, standing roughly a quarter mile from where Kinsella once built a baseball field, had a catch with his dad, and informed Shoeless Joe Jackson that he was not in heaven but in Iowa.

"There's probably just one question to answer," Costner said. "Is this heaven?

The crowd of Iowans cheered.

"I don't think I heard you," Costner said. "Is this heaven?"

The crowd cheered louder.

"Yes," Costner said, "it is."