Joe Wacek, left, and Dwayne Gross sign the guest book at the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville, Iowa. Staff photo by Howard Lestrud
We all have dreams, some we would like to remember and some we would like to forget.
Dreams made some Hollywood types a lot of money when they came up with the idea of making a baseball movie out in a corn field.
Many now know this idea developed into a movie, “Field of Dreams” in 1989, staring Kevin Costner.
Since that movie was released, the baseball field, nestled in a Dyersville, Iowa corn field has become a shrine. Dyersville is located 20 miles west of Dubuque.
Friend Dwayne Gross and I were visiting one night after having dinner, and some how got to taking baseball and more specifically, Field of Dreams.
Right then and there, we set a date to make a road trip to Dyersville. Joe Wacek got wind of our idea and said he would like to accompany us. Plans were finalized and we left Blooming Prairie at 6:30 on a Thursday morning.
The journey takes about 3½ hours. First of all, we got lost when we entered Dyersville. The signage for Field of Dreams is really not that good.
We made it and as we entered the gate with our vehicle, an attendant said admission was free. We were told that donations were encouraged. I gave the attendant a $20 dollar bill, as did Dwayne.
The attendant then said she had something special for us. She gave us a little jar containing dirt from Field of Dreams. Dwayne has since put that in his trophy case next to a baseball autographed by his nephew, Hunter Pence.
The original field used in the movie is still in tact. Three other fields have since been built with a larger field, holding over 8,000 people, used for special games.
Last year the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees played the first Major League baseball game ever played in Iowa. White Sox star player Tim Anderson hit a home run to give the White Sox a walk-off win.
This year, on Aug. 11, a second MLB game will be played. The Cincinnati Reds play the Chicago Cubs.
As soon as we neared the field, we signed an official guest book and then peered over the lay of the land. Kids of all ages were playing catch.
A 17-year-old girl wearing a Roberto Clemente (Hall of Famer) t-shirt was on the mound, throwing strikes to her father.
As we walked the field and checked out the tall corn, we could almost see the ghosts of the movie reappear.
A Michigan resident said it has always been a childhood dream of his to visit the Field of Dreams movie site. “Now, I’m here playing catch with my son,” he proudly said.
A souvenir booklet said the movie has affected the public in a way seldom matched in movie history. With its themes of family ties, faith, second chances and the special relationship between baseball and the American people, the movie has in a few short years, woven itself permanently into the fabric of life in the U.S.
We walked behind the backstop of the Dreams field and were curious why a lanky young man wearing a cowboy hat was pounding dirt into an area surrounding home plate.
This young man, Jadan Moore, we found out was on the Field of Dreams payroll and was doing maintenance to the field.
The three of us were very impressed with this 19-year-old aspiring Major league baseball player’s willingness to share his thoughts about baseball and about life in general.
“I’m a big fan of this place,” Moore said. He is currently a college student at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He plays baseball there and hopes to land a starting position next year as a sophomore.
Moore said he plans to work the MLB game coming Aug. 11.
Dwayne, Joe and I were very impressed with this young man’s take on life. “You will go far,” Joe told him. “Good luck and thanks for visiting with us,” said Dwayne.
After ingesting some fun moments thinking about baseball, we hit the road and began returning home.
When we got to Waterloo, Joe asked if we wanted to go through the John Deere Museum. We stopped. This will be a column for another time.
Put both of these stops on your bucket list. You won’t be sorry.