In the 1989 film titled “Field of Dreams,” while walking though his cornfield one evening, 36-year-old famer Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice whispering, “If you build it, he will come.”
After seeing a vision of a baseball diamond in the cornfield, Ray plows under part of his crop to build a baseball field at the risk of bringing financial hardship upon his family.
In 2016, while visiting that movie site in Dyersville, Iowa, for a promotional tour, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred also had a vision as he began to dream of holding a major league game at that location. For him, it made complete sense and since became a broadcasting opportunity that melded baseball, nostalgia, and cinematic creativity.
So, on the evening of Aug. 12, the New York Yankees met the Chicago White Sox in a nationally televised regular season game played in an 8,000-seat stadium built two corn mazes away from the “Field of Dreams” movie site.
Less significant was the dramatic outcome of the game itself — the White Sox rebounding in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Yankees by the score of 9 to 8. More so was what Mr. Manfred had envisioned five years prior as manifested in James Earl Jones’ movie character Terrence Mann’s prophetic pronouncement, “People will come, Ray…The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.…this game is a part of our past…It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.”
As relevant as baseball may be as a metaphor to recapturing something thought to be lost, “Field of Dreams” is a movie about second chances. If one can imagine what is possible, one can make things right.
At the end of the movie, John Kinsella, Ray’s deceased father, is conjured to return to have a catch with his son. John asks Ray, “Is this heaven?” Ray replies, “No, it’s Iowa.”
Ray turned a cornfield into a spiritual place where family could reconnect, and in so doing demonstrated how if one believes in a dream, it tends to come true. An important message for us all.