DYERSVILLE, Iowa — After months of nonstop work that was nearing the homestretch to erect an 8,000-seat ballpark at the Field of Dreams movie site, work is now underway to tear down the stadium.
Major League Baseball announced this week that it had canceled the Aug. 13 matchup at the site between the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, spurred by COVID-19.
“We will start taking down all the temporary structures that were erected for the event,” said Murray Cook, of BrightView, the company MLB hired to prepare the field for the game. “All the padding on the field will be taken down and stored.”
Sometime late next spring, work will begin to rebuild the stadium for the rescheduled 2021 game.
Cook said a bulk of what was used to construct the stadium was rented and would be too expensive to keep intact for another year.
“As far as rentals, pretty much everything outside the field area except the dugouts (was rented),” he said. “All the tent structures that would be used for clubhouses, media tents, office trailers, generators and the scaffold seating structures are rented. This is typical for other events where we have set up a temporary ballpark like Fort Bragg or Williamsport.”
The lockers, netting, benches and padding will all be stored until next year.
When it’s time to rebuild next year, construction should be a breeze, laughed Tom Metzel, CEO of Go the Distance Baseball.
“They got a lot of practice for setting things up for next year,” he said. “It was beautiful what they had done, and now they expect to have it down by Monday.”
Metzel said he was pleased to hear MLB committed to rescheduling the game and hopes it could potentially become an annual event.
“I would love to have a long-term relationship with MLB, but that is totally up to them,” he said. “This year was very smooth and next year it will be even slicker.”
Cook said BrightView will continue to care for the field until November, and after that time it will be covered until spring.
Before the game was called off, the stadium was in the final phase of construction. Now, the fence guarding its perimeter will be locked and the lights will remain off until next year.
“Obviously (the cancellation) is heartbreaking to the people here in Iowa and the fans and players,” Cook said. “It is just unfortunate. It’s a crazy world we are living in.”
Although much of the construction done to build the stadium will be scrapped, all of the groundwork and planning for next year has been laid out, said Roman Weinberg, director of operations for Go the Distance Baseball.
“We will get ready for 2021 and pick up where we left off,” he said. “A lot of the groundwork and heavy lifting has been completed.”