The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs will get VIP treatment on their way to Dyersville for this year’s Major League Baseball game at the “Field of Dreams” movie site.
The teams will get a police escort for their Thursday, Aug. 11 games played in the specially constructed stadium located near the Dyersville diamond that was the central part of the 1989 film.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for our teams to come and play,” said Jeremiah Yolkut, the vice president of global events for Major League Baseball.
It’s not an easy task to get the teams into the small Dubuque County town and into the stadium surrounded by farmland. But MLB accomplished it last season with no complaints when the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees played at the site.
So MLB will implement a similar plan with the help of local law enforcement and officials from the Dubuque airport. The Cubs and Reds will fly into Dubuque the day of the game and bus to the park for what should be about a 40-minute commute. The police escort will help them navigate through traffic.
“I think this brings us back to our minor-league bus days when we’re traveling for eight hours, 10 hours a night going from one city to the other, like going from Omaha to Oklahoma,” said Reds infielder Kyle Farmer.
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Yolkut said the teams are expected to get to the park sometime in the late morning or early afternoon. It will give them enough time to look around the movie site diamond before taking batting practice for the 6:15 pm game. After the game, they’ll bus back to the Dubuque airport to fly to Cincinnati to resume their series.
“The No. 1 thing you want to do when you host the game is you make sure that from a player perspective, it feels as normal as possible,” Yolkut said.
But it will be an experience unlike any other for players who are used to the daily regimen of the MLB schedule. Flying in and out of a state for one game and driving past corn fields isn’t part of the usual agenda.
But the unique experience offers a special opportunity for fans from Iowa to get a look at two big-league teams. Many fans put up signs or stood by the side of the road to welcome the Yankees and White Sox as they drove to the park last year.
Yolkut hopes the same thing happens this year.
“The localized touch was really nice,” he said.
Tommy Birch, the Register’s sports enterprise and features reporter, has been working at the newspaper since 2008. He’s the 2018 and 2020 Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Reach him at email@example.com or 515-284-8468. Follow him on Twitter @TommyBirch.