MLB at Field of Dreams brings the world of baseball and the world of cinema together, and stars of both got together on Monday to talk about what the unique game means to them.
White Sox All-Star Closer Liam Hendriks – who will play in the game between the White Sox and Yankees on Thursday’s Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville, Iowa – FOX Sports commentator and 2005 White Sox World Series Champion catcher AJ Pierzynski, Yankees Announcer and five-time World Series Champion Paul O’Neill, Chicago Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper, and actor Dwier Brown, who played John Kinsella in Field of Dreams, all attended a virtual press conference previewing the field of Dreams game existed.
They were joined by Murray Cook, president of BrightView Sports Turf Division, who oversaw construction of the MLB on the Field of Dreams pitch, which pays homage to the film, and Michael Davies, FOX senior vice president of technical / field operations Sports.
“I’m excited,” said Hendriks. “You don’t get the chance to be the first major league game in a state every day. It’s kind of cool. And hopefully I don’t [stink] and give up the first homer in the state of Iowa. “
He and Pierzynski talked about how excited they are to get the full MLB experience at Field of Dreams, with its proximity to the movie set and the ballpark that conjures up the iconic scenes.
“The best part is that I can bring my son with me,” said Pierzynski. “We’re going to play out there on the Field of Dreams like in the movie Catch.”
“I’m looking forward to running through the corn fields because who wouldn’t be?” said Henriks. “I want to be able to walk on set and sit in those wooden bleachers and do my own little Shoeless Joe thing and walk through the corn to the actual field. Maybe I need a flare gun or something just in case I get lost and have to start pitching. “
O’Neill played for the Cedar Rapids Reds in the Minor Leagues in the early 1980s, and when Field of Dreams ’89 was released he was a Major Leaguer, so this game means something special to him too.
“It’s such a great idea, such a cool thing, and I’m glad the Yankees are a part of it,” said O’Neill. “The stories and the old players, it brings back memories of the game in the past. … This film was something like my childhood dream, and that keeps it alive, to bring major league players into this field. “
This field is sure to be one of the highlights of the game. Cook hopes it will help make MLB an iconic experience for everyone at Field of Dreams.
“I can’t wait for the fans to see it. I can’t wait for the players to walk on it,” said Cook.
Add to that the fact that Brown, Field of Dreams star Kevin Costner, and possibly other film casts will be in the Field of Dreams game.
“It was just an amazing thing,” said Brown. “I’ve been an actor for 40 years and no one stops asking about the episodes of ER that I made and how that film changed their relationship with their father.”
It is the union of game and film that should make MLB so special at Field of Dreams.
“This is a game for television,” said Davies. “It’s a cinematic game.”
“This is more about the timeless nature of baseball, the universal appeal of the game,” said Roeper, who spoke to the late renowned film critic Roger Ebert about Field of Dreams when lists of the greatest sports films of all time surfaced (Ebert gave Field of Dreams a four-star rating at the time of publication).
“The fact that Liam is the same 18 meters from home plate when he takes the hill that Babe Ruth was when he pitcher for the Red Sox. When AJ was behind the plate, he throws the same distance to the second “base. There are still four balls and three punches. “