The stuff dreams are made of…
The measure of a great movie is when it is timeless, spans from decade to decade, and is as good on the first viewing as it is on the tenth. Everything in that sentence rings true for Field of Dreams. It’s the perfect sports movie, one that reminds us why we love baseball, while adding it’s own traditions in the process. After 31-years, Major League baseball has decided to go back to where it all happened, the heart of America, in Dyersville, Iowa. The place where the corn stalks line the outfield, and Kevin Costner heard that whispering voice say, “If you build it, he will come”. On August 13th, the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees will play an official regular season game at the site of Field of Dreams, an event that will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come. It’s an honor for the two teams to compete at such a historic site, but it will also be a time for a brand new generation of baseball fans to be introduced to director Phil Alden Robinson’s Oscar nominated picture. Field of Dreams doesn’t just capture the spirit of baseball, it reminds us that baseball is a part of us all.
The one constant…is Baseball:
The game of baseball is a part of humanity. It’s like breathing oxygen, the sun rising up every day, or just something humans are born with. I couldn’t tell you when it all clicked for me personally. I learned about baseball the same way you might have, playing little league, going to White Sox games with my family, or watching other kids around me play. Soon, I was collecting baseball cards, my favorite player was Mike Piazza, and I dreamed of being a home run hitter in the majors some day. It just so happens that it was around that time that I first saw Field of Dreams. It’s a movie that teaches us about the past, but what it really teaches us is the romantic side of baseball. It’s an introduction to the beauty that lies underneath the competition, the sweat, and the dirt. We love the sunshine on the bright green grass, putting our leather glove to our face, the smell of hot dogs and peanuts at the park. All of those senses were there when you went to a baseball game, but Field of Dreams and credit to the screenplay by Robinson, based on W.P. Kinsella’s book, awoke something that was there all along. What was there is a genuine love for baseball. It reminded us that having a catch with our dad is a special moment. It’s okay to cry watching Field of Dreams because baseball matters. It’s called America’s past time for a reason. Although the rules have adapted to the times, the technology has made things faster, it’s still a game with a glove, a bat and a ball. Field of Dreams not only transcends cinema, it became a moment where baseball and movies became one.
The Chicago White Sox- Finding Redemption in the Field of Dreams:
It’s fascinating to think that the 1919 Chicago White Sox still have a place in major league baseball in the year 2020. It has been 101 years, but with the recent scandal of the Houston Astros stealing signals, it has lead to newspapers, sports radio, and social media bringing up the dark history of the Black Sox scandal all over again. Unfortunately, it is only under negative circumstances, but for greater and worse, that White Sox team will forever be a part of our Major League baseball lore. But the underlying theme of Field of Dreams is redemption, finding forgiveness for the people we love, and a place for people to find peace. When Shoeless Joe Jackson (played by Ray Liotta) makes his arrival to the newly erected baseball field in Ray’s backyard, it’s a moment for him to be in his sanctuary, a place where he felt alive. Shoeless Joe delivers the famous line, “getting thrown out of baseball was like having part of me amputated.” It’s not a statement we can’t understand. We all have a passion in life, a hobby, a purpose. The 1919 White Sox were a team of great players and eight of them committed the ultimate sin of throwing the World Series for money. Maybe those players would have done things differently had they known the consequences, but in a world that rarely believes in second chances, Field of Dreams is a movie that teaches us to find a way to forgive the sinner. The 1919 Chicago White Sox were a great team, that also committed terrible mistakes. They will never receive total redemption, nor should they, but they will never be erased from MLB history.
Field of Dreams- A sports movie that goes the distance:
It’s easy to talk about what Field of Dreams has done for baseball or what it means to Chicago White Sox, but above it all, it is a perfect movie. The performance by Kevin Costner is a balancing act. Playing a father, a husband, and struggling with the reality that he is hearing voices. I looked for flaws in Field of Dreams. I can’t find them. It’s a layered story, about a man that must search inside himself, find his purpose in life. It’s about baseball, it’s about family, it’s about the Chicago White Sox, and it’s a spiritual film. Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa, but it could be your heaven. It could be anyone’s afterlife. That’s the point of it all. When you add those themes and a great supporting cast, you only elevate the material. James Earl Jones delivering his historic speech about “base-bol”, Amy Madigan as the wife, mother, and fighter for social justice, and the last performance of Burt Lancaster as the baseball player that missed his shot as Moonlight Graham. Field of Dreams has it all. It’s arguably the greatest sports movie of all time. And when the Chicago White Sox walk out onto the field in Dyersville, Iowa, we will once again remember that baseball has marked the time. This field, this game; it’s a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again…people will most definitely come.