This year’s MLB game at the Field of Dreams features the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, Aug. 11, and players from the National League Central Division rivals spoke Wednesday about their excitement for next week — in just the second Major League Baseball game played in Iowa.
The first game held there was Aug. 12, 2021, between the Chicago White Sox (designated as the home team) and the New York Yankees. It was the first MLB game played in the state of Iowa, and the White Sox won, 9–8, on a walk-off home run by Tim Anderson.
In a throwback to a bygone era of sports, the hosting River Bandits will play as the Davenport Blue Sox (their name during 1913-1916, 1929-1933 and 1934-1937) against the Kernels as the Cedar Rapids Bunnies (their name from 1904-1932), for the ‘MiLB at Field of Dreams‘ Game.
Frank Schwindel, first baseman for the Cubs (41-61) has played for the Des Moines minor league team. “It’s gonna be awesome. I’m excited. The fans are passionate,” he said in a Wednesday video press conference. “It’s going to be a great time to have them come out,” he said.
“Watching homers go out into the corn, you don’t see that often,” Schwindel said. “It’s gonna be something special. It’s going to be a great opportunity to play in that game. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
Wrigley Field is such an iconic ballpark itself, and Schwindel said they’re spoiled to play their home games there. He’s planning to bask in the glory of “Field of Dreams” next week.
“Soak it all in”
“We’re gonna soak it all in; we’ll walk through the corn, sit on the iconic bench out front,” he said. “Just try to soak it all in and have as much fun as we can. It’s just another baseball game, but under the circumstances, it’s gonna be a fun one.”
Kyle Farmer, shortstop for the Reds (42-61), grew up watching the iconic 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner. “It’s an incredible movie and I’m looking forward to being out there,” he said. “Everybody’s excited, wearing the 1919 uniforms, walking out from the corn. Everybody from watching it last year, everybody is pretty excited.”
“They did an incredible job building a stadium, in a place where you’re not supposed to build a stadium,” Farmer said of the Dyersville site. “It looked incredible.”
“Watching the game last year, Yankees and the White Sox, and to see that Tim Anderson walk-off was pretty special,” he said.
Farmer said this will bring the players back to their Minor League bus days, when they would travel 8-10 hours between cities.
“I think the biggest thing will be wearing the old-school uniforms,” he said. “That brings a different aspect to our mentality playing the game. You put on the old uniform, and it’s a different feel to playing baseball.
Farmer is looking forward to walking around the movie set, and it would be cool to see Kevin Costner (who did introduce the first game last year).
“I’m a big movie buff, so I’m excited to actually be on a place where they had the movie set,” he said. He really enjoyed seeing the game last year.
“The coolest part was seeing the scoreboard and seeing guys actually manually going up there, changing the scoreboard,” Farmer said. “We never see that.”
Hard to top last year’s game
Compared to the drama of the first MLB game in Iowa last year and the excitement of its finish, Farmer said it will be tough to beat this year.
“We’ll play hard and hope to put on a show for the fans, but that’s gonna be tough to beat,” he said. “Frank can go deep at any point in the game, so you never know what’s gonna happen with him.”
“Shoeless Joe” Jackson and teammates on the Chicago White Sox were accused of conspiring with gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. They were acquitted following a jury trial in 1921, but baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis barred them for life from professional baseball.
Farmer (of the Reds) said Wednesday that he did a school report on the infamous Black Sox scandal.
“I love baseball so much, I wasn’t very academically entitled, so I chose baseball to do a report on,” he said. “Going into this game an the history behind it, knowing Shoeless Joe Jackson, I don’t really feel like the villain.”
“Every game counts for us, 162 games,” Farmer added. “We’re out there trying to win a ball game. It’s just a different atmosphere. It’ll probably make us play better.”
Jeremiah Yolkut, Director of Events & Scheduling for Major League Baseball, said he expects another magical night of baseball at Field of Dreams.
“Everything we’re doing around it designed to make it really special,” he said. “We want to make sure the fan experience is the same specialness as last year. We’re super excited to be there again. We appreciate the partnerships locally – we can’t ask for better hosts than city of Dubuque, city of Dyersville, Dubuque County. Everybody’s been at the table planning this since the inception of the concept.”
Midwest League vet to call Bandits game
Harold Reynolds, a former MLB All-Star and current MLB Network Analyst, is calling the MiLB at Field of Dreams game Aug. 9 between the River Bandits and the Kernels.
“It’s an exciting opportunity and moment for Major League Baseball,” he said Wednesday. “Any time you get the chance to showcase the different things we do in the sport, this stands as a shining light. Last year did not hurt at all. It helped a great deal; it was an amazing game.
“The setting was incredible. I think it took everybody by surprise, how well it was put on,” Reynolds said. “Then the players performed, so anytime you have that, it’s great.”
The Minor League game at Field of Dreams is a new attraction, as a warm-up for the MLB game. Reynolds got his start in the Midwest League, and played in the QC and Cedar Rapids in the early 1980s.
“It’s pretty cool for me to get a chance to call their game,” he said. “It’s quite a collection of talent, the players on both sides. I look forward to that being a great game.”
In the broadcast, Reynolds aims to entertain, including talking to players and special guests.
“The beauty of Minor League Baseball is the purity of it, and I think in this setting, it just makes it come out and taste even better,” he said. “I’m excited about the opportunity and getting a chance to do it.”
How to get tickets
Tickets for the Bandits game start at $85 per person for tip-up seats and $65 for bench-style seating, available HERE. Fans may purchase up to eight (8) tickets and two (2) complimentary parking passes per order, as driving a personal or rental vehicle is the primary mode of transportation available to the site. You can watch the game on MLB Network or MiLB.tv.
Coverage of the Cubs and Reds game will air at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 11, on KLJB Fox 18.
Travel Iowa is also promoting all the things to do in and around Dyersville for visitors to the two games. You can find that HERE.