Exitement builds as Iowa prepares to host 1st MLB game

In just over a month, the Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville will host the much-awaited Major League Baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees, the first-ever regular season big league game played in Iowa.

The game was supposed to held be last August but, like with so much else, the pandemic took it out.

“I will never forget that day where we got that phone call that we kind of knew was coming last year with a postponement of the game,” Roman Weinberg, director of operations for Go the Distance Baseball, the entity that owns the Field of Dreams Movie Site, said. “We saw it coming, but it was a week prior to the game, so it was disappointing, it took the wind out of our sails a little bit.”

But now, Weinberg assured that preparations are running smoothly for the Aug. 12 game.

“A lot of the infrastructure, a lot of those internal conversations, all the preparation was done last year since the game was only nixed a week prior to the game,” Weinberg explained.

Something that has also stayed, and even built up, over the past year is the anticipation for the game. Weinberg mentioned they get calls every day at the movie site from people asking when tickets will go on sale.

“And our answer is, as of now, there are no tickets available, so bear with us out there,” Weinberg said.

But, Weinberg added they get a lot of other different questions.

“It is just the excitement, the curiosity. ‘When are the bleachers going up? Do you guys test the lights out? Are there celebrities coming out to the field for the game in advance? Is Kevin Costner throwing the first pitch?’” Weinberg said.

The temporary ballpark will seat around 8,000 people, but Karla Thompson, the executive director of the Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce, said they are expecting a lot more people than that will roll into town.

”That is probably the No. 1 question that the community has is how many people to expect,” Thompson said. “People are calling the chamber office wanting to make vacation plans and a lot of them are coming regardless if they get MLB tickets or not.”

Because many probably will not be able to get inside the park for the game, city leaders want to make sure everyone gets to experience the thrill of bringing the MLB to eastern Iowa by putting together a two-day community event called Beyond the Game, which will take place the day before and the day of the game.

“It is going to be just a wide variety of things that kind of represent Iowa,” Thompson said. “One of the highlights is ‘Experience Iowa Zone,’ so this is basically businesses, organizations that represent Iowa that can come and show their product or giveaway product or promotions, so if someone from New York who has never been to Iowa before they can go through this area and kind of get a feel for what Iowa has to offer.”

The festival will also feature renowned country music artists and will host the game’s official viewing party; something both Thompson and Weinberg agree is fitting for Iowa’s first-ever MLB game.

“This is holy grounds of baseball,” Weinberg said. “The fact that it is held here is fitting, to say the least, for the first-ever regular-season game in the state of Iowa. It is humbling, but it is a testament to everything that this field means and the fact that it is not lost on major-league baseball.”

KCCI.com report