The Magic has Gone.
It’s been 32 years since Kevin Costner’s film, Field of Dreams, was released and about 10 years since I visited that famous field. I had sold a story to Family Motorcoaching magazine with no idea what I would find when I reached Dyersville, Iowa, and the Lansing Family Farm.
What I saw when I tuned off the gravel road and pulled into the parking area was the white farmhouse with the wrap-around veranda and the baseball diamond exactly as seen in the film. It was mid-morning, but there were already a dozen cars and a tour bus in there parking lot.
Don Lansing, owner of the property, had spotted me when I drove in and the next thing I knew, we were sitting side-by-side on the love seat/swing on the veranda that’s prominent in the film.
Lansing told me he maintained the property exactly as it appeared in the film.
“Oh, yes,” he said. “That’s what the people expect when they come here.”
I noted that there was no admission charge.
“I make a few dollars at the souvenir stand,” he said. “Enough to keep everything looking nice.” He added quietly, “I maintain the place myself.”
A few years ago, Don Lansing sold the farm and everything has changed. Yesterday, the New York Yankees played the Chicago White Sox on the Field of Dreams and there was a crowd of 8,000 people in attendance, sitting in what appeared to be rough wooden grandstands. The game was televised nationally.
A magical experience is gone forever. Sooner or later, money talks.
Do you realize that the MLB facility is a new structure that is in addition to the field used for the movie site? It didn’t replace it. They just built a new field to modern MLB standards nearby. The movie site is still open daily and is free. Perhaps it’s because I’m from Iowa or perhaps it’s because I’m a lifelong White Sox fan, but I think the Field of Dreams game was kind of cool.
Terrance Mann was right. “People will come, Ray.”