The Field of Dreams game is not yet canceled, but just like everything else involving the upcoming 2020 baseball season, there are some pretty gigantic unknowns.
MLB Network's Jon Morosi tweeted a statement from Major League Baseball on Tuesday — similar to the one the Sun-Times published a month ago — saying the game, supposedly featuring the White Sox, has not yet been canceled and that construction of a field in the middle of a cornfield next to a movie set in Dyersville, Iowa, is ongoing. With measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid the ongoing pandemic, the league is hoping it will have the option to play the game.
. @MLB statement on MLB at Field of Dreams Game, scheduled for Aug. 13: “To date there has been no change in the status of the event, and we hope to have the option to play. Construction is continuing and we are following all CDC and state protocols regarding . . . “ @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 30, 2020
“ . . . recommended safety practices, including social distancing, washing hands, and temperature checks before arriving to the site. Safeguarding public health is our top priority. We are monitoring ongoing events and plan to remain as flexible as these circumstances demand.”— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 30, 2020
The New York Post's Joel Sherman filled in one of the big blanks, reporting that if the game happens, the White Sox would likely play an NL Central foe, either the Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals or Milwaukee Brewers, with the Cardinals being the most likely substitute for the New York Yankees, who are out because of the league's geographic scheduling for this year's 60-game regular season.
Sherman added some more uncertainty, though, reporting that the players' union needs to sign off. And given the state of relations between the league and the union, nothing that requires an agreement between the two sides can be considered a given.
Asked about this over weekend, heard: 1. MLB would still like to play the game. 2. Union had not yet signed off on it 3. Because it is regional competition, #Yankees will not play #WhiteSox, most likely replacements in order were #STLCards #Cubs #Brewers. But fluid situation. https://t.co/VyZFuNeO4Q— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 30, 2020
I wrote back in May that it makes too much sense for the Cubs to replace the Yankees, and I still feel that way.
The Cubs, like the Yankees, would draw a huge national audience to this summertime showcase, now the only one of those that baseball has left after canceling the London series between the Cubs and Cardinals and the All-Star Game. Putting either the Cubs or Cardinals in the Field of Dreams game would allow the league to feature one of the teams the country would have tuned in to see play in England.
But while I'm sure there are plenty of Iowa-based Cardinals fans — I know there's a ton of Iowa-based Cubs fans — this is about the national-TV audience. And the Crosstown rivalry, especially with the White Sox on the rise and the Cubs still harboring championship aspirations, would provide some juice. Of course, Fox might be able to get that juice from any of six games between the teams this season, either at Guaranteed Rate Field or Wrigley Field. Taking a more run-of-the-mill (or as run-of-the-mill as things can be in this most unusual of seasons) bout between the White Sox and Cardinals or Brewers and adding the Field of Dreams element could perhaps make for another must-watch game on the schedule, considering the Crosstown games are going to be that anyway.
For what it's worth, Dyersville is about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Chicago and Milwaukee. It's nearly five and a half hours from St. Louis. Though putting dozens of guys into a bus and driving to Iowa might not mesh with the league's health and safety protocols. If the teams, or one of them even, flies, then why can't it just still be the Yankees? The geographic schedule is supposed to minimize travel, but it's yet to be explained how the Yankees flying to Chicago (or Iowa) would be more dangerous than them flying to Tampa.
Anyway, I think putting a Crosstown game there still makes a ton of sense. It would get Chicago fans excited, and considering they won't be able to watch their teams in person on the South Side or the North Side, why not take one of their six games and move it to the Far, Far West Side?
Sounds like we might hear more soon.