DYERSVILLE, Iowa — After over a year of waiting among area residents, game time is drawing nearer at the Field of Dreams.
Dyersville and Major League Baseball officials are continuing to finalize plans for the highly anticipated MLB game between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees on Aug. 12 at the Field of Dreams. The game was originally scheduled to take place on Aug. 13, 2020, but was canceled as COVID-19 numbers climbed.
“I feel people are still saying, ‘Is it real? Is it going to happen?’ So there’s a little bit of angst about that,” said Jacque Rahe, Dyersville Economic Development Corporation executive director. “But everything is still full steam ahead.”
Michael Teevan, MLB’s vice president of communications, said in an email to the Telegraph Herald that the organization has yet to announce ticket sale plans for the game.
In the meantime, Rahe said the community is working with MLB officials to coordinate all plans ahead of the big day. MLB is looking to hire about 200 people to help work during the game, she said, and more information about those jobs can be found on the Travel Dubuque website.
Having an extra year to prepare for the game has made the planning process “a little more seamless” this time around, Rahe said, especially because city and MLB officials are more familiar with each other.
Some planned elements have already been in place for a year, she said, such as the “If You Build It” exhibit. The exhibit, which takes guests through the making of the “Field of Dreams” movie, has been open since last year and will remain so on game day.
Roman Weinberg, director of operations for Go the Distance Baseball, said that meetings were held with MLB officials last week to coordinate plans for the game’s setup. After the 2020 game cancellation, the temporary 8,000-seat stadium was taken down.
Cellular towers will be going up by late June, he said, and parking and shuttles to the site are still being planned. The stadium itself, including bleachers as well as portable equipment such as locker rooms and tents, will be put in place throughout July, he said.
Since all of the infrastructure was put in place last year, Weinberg said the process of figuring out the setup has been easier.
“A little extra planning never hurt anything, especially with this game,” he said. “We want it to go off without a hitch and show that this may in fact be heaven.”
Karla Thompson, Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said plans are still being finalized for the two-day “Beyond the Game” event set to take place prior to the MLB game on Aug. 11 and 12.
“Beyond the Game” was originally scheduled as a four-day event in 2020, but Thompson said organizers scaled back the event when certain elements, such as traveling museums, remained unavailable this year due to COVID-19.
However, the event will still kick off with many different activities at noon on Aug. 11. Thompson said the “Experience Iowa Zone” will feature booths promoting Iowa businesses and organizations to give out-of-town visitors a taste of the state, and a kids zone will feature various games and activities.
A country concert is planned for the evening of Aug. 11, and Thompson said details on the act will be released soon. The night will end with a showing of the “Fields of Dreams” movie.
All of the activities will remain open on Aug. 12 prior to the game. A game viewing party is also planned for those who want to watch the game in town but weren’t able to get tickets.
“We talked to so many people who said they’re coming regardless of whether they get tickets or not,” Thompson said. “The whole state of Iowa has been waiting patiently.”
To prepare for future crowds, Thompson said officials are working on finding Dyersville residents willing to open up their homes as accommodations if hotels fill up quickly.
She also noted that the game planning process will likely become “a little more chaotic” after ticket sale plans are announced.
“There’s more excitement as things get closer,” Thompson said. “We’re just continuing at our places and waiting like everyone else.”