DYERSVILLE, Iowa — After the Field of Dreams Major League Baseball game was announced, workers found themselves recreating parts of the popular 1989 movie.
In the film, a farmer, played by Kevin Costner, plows his corn field to build a baseball field.
“We did that here. We did that same thing ...” BrightView Sports Turf Division president Murray Cook said, describing the movie scene. “We got a tractor and knocked down the corn.”
MLB worked with three companies, BaAM Productions, Populous and BrightView, to plan and develop a ballpark at the Field of Dreams, starting way back in 2015.
Though BaAM Productions, Populous and BrightView have worked with MLB on similar temporary stadiums, this is the first one where corn played such a prominent role, BaAM project director Ray Salverda said.
“It’s all about converting these spaces, transforming these spaces into really special places and creating that magic for the fans and keeping the essence of that Field of Dreams story alive,” BaAM Director of Communications Aimee Roy said.
There’s a certain excitement to working at the Field of Dreams, Cook said, describing goosebumps when walking on the field.
“The big fun about this is the movie captured a lot of hearts,” Cook said.
Early on, they realized they would have to build a new field alongside the movie site. Tourists play catch there everyday, but the space isn’t big enough for an official MLB game.
So, a second field was carved out of the corn 1,000 feet away in 2019.
Origin Design, a Dubuque company, drilled into the land to check for water tables and rock to help identify the right location.
It took 30,000 cubic yards of soil to create a level playing surface. Corn was planted around the outfield, coming right up to the fence line.
“We had to do a little bit of grading,” Cook said. “The terrain of the area was pretty steep.”
A temporary stadium was put up ahead of the original 2020 game date, built to pandemic specifications with space for corn instead of audiences. When the game was postponed, the stands were taken down.
“Everything went away within two weeks of the cancellation,” Salverda said. “We call it the dress rehearsal.”
But the field remained. Nate Canier, sports turf manager for Van Wall Equipment, a John Deere dealer, said that John Deere equipment was also used to care for the MLB field.
This year, workers returned to the field, putting up a slightly tweaked stadium.
“Last year we designed it dealing with the COVID environment,” Salverda said. “The clubhouses were 30% bigger last year ... we actually transplanted corn around the whole field last year.”
Now, that corn was replaced with stands for 8,000 fans.
In July, work began on putting up temporary seating and locker rooms.
“If you’d come here July 3, all you’d see was the field,” Cook said.
Reclaimed barn wood was used to make a scoreboard and center field bullpen resembling Comiskey Park in 1919.
Salverda said that the cities of Dubuque and Dyersville and local chambers of commerce played a large role in supporting the projects. Over 50 local vendors contributed.
MLB spokesperson Michael Teevan said that plans for after the game and what will happen to the field have yet to be determined.