You could say that the August 12 MLB at Field of Dreams game has been decades in the making. Ever since those famous lines were spoken, “If you build it, he will come…” the landscapes of Iowa and its magical cornfields have left an imprint on the minds of baseball fans the world over.
For most, seeing an actual MLB game play out between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox at the Field of Dreams felt like an impossibility, but now, thanks to a unique team of event specialists, that dream has come true.
What happens when movie magic meets the realities of hot, humid Iowa summers? How do you turn a cornfield into a league-sanctioned baseball field? For Major League Baseball, they turned to a triple threat combination of BaAM Productions, Populous, and BrightView. This trusted group of sports event and experience specialists previously worked with MLB to create specialty games at unique venues, including the first regular season professional sports event held on an active military base at the Fort Bragg Game and then a year later the first MLB Little League Classic at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, PA.
Like those projects, the MLB at Field of Dreams build has been managed by BaAM, a creative experience company responsible for construction management, operational planning, event production –and ultimately charged with making the seemingly impossible happen. To achieve this, BaAM worked with sports architecture firm Populous in the design of the event site and the Sports Turf division of BrightView to ensure MLB standards in construction of the field of play.
The MLB at Field of Dreams project has been a labor of love for the game – with many players and stars needing to align to get to this moment. BaAM President Annemarie Roe recalls, “At that first site visit in 2015, we met Denise Stillman who was the champion of the Field of Dreams concept. Then as we met more officials and locals from the area, even touring around with Mayor Heavens, we were convinced that we really could make this happen. And here we are.”
That passion and commitment from across all varieties of stakeholders have supported BaAM’s ability to create baseball heaven on earth. As the outdoor venue takes shape, the ballpark’s design is a tribute to Chicago’s Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox from 1910-1990, including the shape of the outfield and bullpens beyond the center field fence. And the realities of building the Field of Dreams – from constructing access roads for necessary machinery, to the oppressive humidity that develops among the cornfields by late afternoon, to the unpredictability of mother nature – are only adding to the mythology of the Field of Dreams story and its hallowed ground.
Yet, even for members of the BaAM team who have been carefully planning and managing the work since that initial site visit – it still feels like magic, which is always the goal for a company dedicated to creating extraordinary experiences for fans. As Roe notes, “It’s a career highlight for us to have been selected to create this iconic baseball experience and connect with baseball fans who are drawn to that magic.”
A Field of Dreams Timeline
|April 21, 1989||Field of Dreams movie is released, earning 3 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture|
|October 2011||“Go the Distance Baseball” (headed by Denise Stillman) purchases the Field of Dreams movie site from former owners Don and Becky Lansing|
|Early 2015||MLB considers new ways to inject excitement into the regular season by hosting games in smaller markets where MLB games aren’t typically played|
|June 18, 2015||BaAM, Populous, and Brightview conduct initial site visit at Field of Dreams movie site|
|July 3, 2016||The Fort Bragg Game is the first regular season professional sports event ever held on an active military base and the first MLB game played in North Carolina, made possible by BaAM, Populous, and BrightView|
|August 20, 2017||Inaugural MLB Little League Classic is played at Historic Bowman Field, made possible by BaAM, Populous, and BrightView|
|December 13, 2017||Field of Dreams is selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”|
|August 8, 2019||MLB announces Yankees, White Sox to meet in “MLB at Field of Dreams” in August 2020 – a matchup between the two favorite Clubs of lead character Ray’s father, John Kinsella, at different points of his life|
|August 2019||Initial groundbreaking at Field of Dreams|
|July 6, 2020||MLB announces 60-game regionalized schedule due to COVID-19 pandemic and St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox at MLB at Field of Dreams|
|August 4, 2020||The scheduled MLB at Field of Dreams Game between the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals is postponed|
|August 12, 2021||MLB at Field of Dreams Game set to take place, featuring the original Chicago White Sox vs. the New York Yankees matchup**Game is sold out|