DYERSVILLE, Iowa — Mark Simon would prefer not being called into action during the Major League Baseball Field of Dreams Game.
But, if it happens, Simon will be ready.
The long-time Dyersville youth coach landed a spot on the tarp crew for tonight’s ground-breaking game. The crew includes roughly 30 local baseball enthusiasts under the direction of Ossian, Iowa, native Isaiah Lienau, who works full-time for the Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators.
“It’s an awesome experience just to be out here,” said Simon, who played baseball at Dubuque Wahlert and Simpson College in the 1990s before a long semi-pro career. “We’ve been hearing about this game for two years now, and it’s kind of surreal to think here we are on the field.
“Everyone is taken aback the first time you see the field and just how amazing it is. It’s hard to believe this was literally a cornfield two years ago, and now it’s a beautiful stadium where the White Sox and Yankees are going to play a baseball game.”
The tarp crew will be stationed along the first-base side, near the New York Yankees’ dugout, and it will be put on notice in the event of inclement weather. If Lienau gives the go-ahead, the crew will have to work quickly to cover the infield portion of the diamond.
“They want it done in less than two minutes, so you pretty much have to sprint the whole time to get it covered,” said Bob Rausch, a tarp crew member also from Dyersville. “Our best time so far is about a minute and 45 seconds, which isn’t too bad. Hopefully, we can relax and watch the game, and we don’t have to cover it during the game.
“This field is the biggest thing to happen to this town, so it’s pretty neat to be a part of it. I never would have dreamed that something like this would be taking place in Dyersville.”
The tarp crew has made six or seven practice runs in the past two days, and they will cover the infield overnight.
“Hopefully, we don’t get any rain during the game, but it’s Iowa so you never know,” Simon said. “If we have to put it on, we’ll definitely be ready.”
Cascade High School baseball coach Roamn Hummel, and his wife, Brooke, will be among the legion of game-day staff today. They will help guide V.I.P parking in the morning, then return home to watch the game on television.
“I would have loved to have been able to get tickets to the game, but they were obviously pretty hard to come by,” Roamn Hummel said Wednesday afternoon, when game-day workers received a tour of the facilities. “We won’t be anywhere near here for the game, but it’s still pretty neat to be here today and see it. It’s amazing.”
The Hummels plan summer vacations around Major League Baseball games and attractions. They didn’t think MLB would be coming to their home county.
“It’s history, and it’s pretty cool to at least be able to say we were a part of this,” Brooke Hummel said.