Baseball fans descend on Iowa to remember ‘Field of Dreams’

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Baseball fans from all over North America are descending on this quaint farm in outer Dyersville, Iowa and all of them want to talk baseball or one of baseball’s premier baseball movies, Field of Dreams.


Ball enthusiasts from as far as Spokane, Washington and Vancouver are mingling with folks from Denver, North Carolina, St. Louis, Boston, New York, Florida and beyond to talk about how much they love baseball and Field of Dreams.


Every one of them has a baseball-related story to tell, and they are part of the 60,000 who visit this baseball diamond annually.


They have their ball mitts, baseballs and baseball caps as they “have a catch” on perhaps the most-storied, non-professional baseball diamond in America.


And they’re lining up to buy T-shirts, ball caps, coffee mugs and other trinkets to mark the fact they’ve made it here.


Field of Dreams has persevered since its theatrical release in April 1989, and has something of a cult following all over North America.


This weekend the movie is being celebrated to acknowledge its impact on father-and-son relationships and celebrities of all stripes are here among the fans.


In media reports out of New York and elsewhere, cast members tell multiple stories of grown men approaching them in tears and talking about how the movie affected their relationships with their fathers or sons.


“Every day I’m out in public, people will mention that movie,” actor Kevin Costner, who played protagonist Ray Kinsella in the movie, told the New York Daily News in April. “I was at The Grove with my children, and a guy came over to me in a very emotional way. And he just said it allowed him to reconnect with his father, and to get some things said that had not been said. Happens all the time.”


But he’s not the only celebrity taking in the events this weekend.


Retired professional baseball players such as Bret Saberhagen and Glendon Rusch are to join with athletes from other sports such as retired Canadian National Hockey League player Reid Simpson, here with his son, and Canadian figure skater Lloyd Eisler, who is here with his family, too.


Actor D.B. Sweeney, who portrayed Shoeless Joe Jackson in the movie Eight Men Out, is here, as are Matt Lauer and Bob Costas of NBC, which is shooting two shows at this anniversary event.


Friday evening there was a Q-and-A session with Kevin Costner and other cast members (Timothy Busfield, Dwier Brown) with Costas and Lauer.


At dusk Friday, Field of Dreams was to be shown on a large screen in the outfield.


On Saturday, families are invited to “have a catch” on the field before VIP and celebrity softball games take place in the afternoon.


Costner holds a press conference in Dyerseville Saturday, before heading a half-hour’s drive east to Dubuque, Iowa — on the western banks of the Mississippi River — where he and cast mates will be introduced to the America’s River Music Festival in the evening. Then his rock band will take the stage between sets from the Gin Blossoms and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.


On Sunday there is a father-and-son brunch on the diamond.


Terrence Mann, a character in the movie played by James Earl Jones, was absolutely correct in the movie’s final scene when he predicted, “People will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”


They continue to come 25 years after the movie was released.


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