Field of Dreams game: Reds, Cubs to pay homage to MLB history

The iconic quote from the movie “Field of Dreams” adorns wall where spectators will enter for MLB’s second annual Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa, on Thursday. Photo by Mark Black/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 11 (UPI) — Major League Baseball will pay homage to two of its oldest franchises as the Cincinnati Reds meet the Chicago Cubs in the Field of Dreams Game on Thursday in Dyersville, Iowa.

The second edition of the spectacle will air at 7 p.m. EDT on Fox. Last year’s game featured the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

Talking to those guys [Yankees and White Sox players], they said it was unbelievable,” Cubs second baseman Nick Madrigal recently told MLB.com.

The Yankees and White Sox franchises formed decades after the Cubs and Reds started play in the 1800s. The Cubs and Reds are among only five baseball teams from the 19th century that still play in their original city. The St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies are the others.

The Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first known professional team in 1869. The Cubs, first known as the White Stockings, started play in 1870 and joined the National League in 1876.

The franchises will pay homage to that history with throwback uniforms Thursday at the cornfield-surrounded facility, which served as the site for the 1989 film, Field of Dreams.

The Cubs will wear cream-colored versions of the jerseys they wore from 1927 to 1929 and versions of the dark blue hats they wore in 1914. The Reds will wear 1919 uniforms, which are white and feature blue pinstripes.

Fans will be able to tune in on TV, stream the game on Fox Sports or watch online with the MLB.TV app. Fox said last year’s Field of Dreams Game broadcast was the most-watched regular-season MLB game in 16 years, with nearly 16 million viewers.

Kevin Costner and Dwier Brown, actors from the 1989 movie, participated in pregame festivities for the 2021 edition of the game in Dyersville.

Costner starred in the film as Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, who hears a mysterious voice from the field. The voice prompts him to construct a baseball diamond on the property. Ghosts of all-time great players, including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, later emerge from the cornfields to compete on his baseball diamond.

Kinsella also sees the ghost of his deceased father, a fellow baseball fan, and the two repair their broken relationship.

The ballpark in which the MLB players will compete different from the movie set. MLB constructed a larger field, which can hold about 8,000 fans, in 2020, adjacent to the much smaller baseball diamond used in the movie.

Left-handed pitcher Nick Lodolo is expected to start for the Reds. Fellow lefty Drew Smyly is expected to start for the Cubs. The Reds (44-64) and Cubs (44-64) are tied for third place in the National League Central division.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Cubs outfielder Ian Happ will wear microphones during this year’s game, and will participate in conversations from the field with those in the Fox broadcast booth, including commentators John Smoltz and Joe Davis.

Last year’s game, a 9-8 White Sox win, featured eight home runs, with several balls flying into the corn stalks beyond the outfield fence. Reds hitting coach Alan Zinter told MLB Network this week that he is preparing the team to hit some liners into the same fields.

The park’s dimensions are 335 feet down the left and right foul lines and 400 feet to dead center, which is pretty much equivalent to an MLB stadium.

“I don’t think there is any thing we can do in the cages to simulate hitting into the corn fields, but our guys are super excited,” Zinter said. “We were happy to hear last year we would be a part of this. We are very fortunate as an organization to take part in it.

“You can just hear the excitement from our guys. … We are pumped up.”

The Cubs are 4-3 against the Reds this season. The Reds will host the final two games of the series with the Cubs on Saturday and Sunday at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

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