Big League Stew

‘Field of Dreams’ to be home of independent baseball team

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(Stephen Gassman)

They built it for the movie "Field of Dreams" and people have come from all over the world to see it firsthand. Now they're redeveloping the entire complex in Dyersville, Iowa, and as a result an independent baseball team will soon call it home, perhaps as early as 2014.

According to KWWL in Iowa, the youth baseball and softball tournament complex that will be constructed at the Field of Dreams movie site will become home to a baseball team in the newly-revived Northern League, an independent professional minor league. The name of the complex is "All-Star Ballpark Heaven."

Dan Evans is commissioner of the Northern League and the one who approached Stillman about putting a team at All-Star Ballpark Heaven.

"We are truly excited about adding a franchise that will play at the new development near the iconic Field of Dreams Movie Site," Evans said in the release. "The combination of the area's passion for baseball, a unique setting, and All-Star Ballpark Heaven's strong commitment to youth baseball and softball is ideal, and such an incredible opportunity."

According to Eye on Baseball's Matt Snyder, aside from the team in Dyersville, which is so far unnamed, the only other team committed to the league is the Elkhart Country (Indiana) Miracle. It will be the third incarnation of the Northern League once they're able to fill it out.

As for the current plans for the redevelopment:

Final plans for All-Star Ballpark Heaven include 24 fields, one of which will now be equipped for the Northern League team. Up until this week, developers had planned on having 12 of the fields built and operational by the 2014 season, in time for the Field of Dreams film's 25th anniversary. However, developers are now scaling back that $20 million "Phase 1" plan to six fields by 2014, which includes the more-developed Northern League Field.

Go the Distance Baseball has not yet begun constructing the fields. Stillman said the developers are working to raise all the necessary funds.

Plans call for the original field from the film to remain intact and free and open to the public, as it has been. That includes keeping the outfield meeting the cornfield.

Obviously there's still a lot of work to be done here in terms of the big picture, but it's actually kind of cool to think about a team playing real games at the complex. I'm not sure if the local folks will agree with me on that — probably not based on their past outrage over the changes — but I like what they're doing. And I'm especially pleased the movie site will be kept intact.

Big BLS H/N: Eye on Baseball

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