“If You Build It, He Will Come…” Even 30-Plus Years Later
Our friends at Midwest Bus Trips are starting local tours in June. Over the weekend, Aaron from MWBT invited me out for a dry run and a tour of the Kinsella house used in the filming of the movie.
I realize there isn't an abundance of local movies shot in the area. Sylvester Stallone's "F.I.S.T." from 1978 and Robert Hays "Take This Job and Shove It" from 1981 are two examples that come to mind. (The hospitality room inside the Star Brewery in Dubuque has a room full of memorabilia dedicated to those films.)
I think most locals will likely think about the 1989 Kevin Costner classic "Field of Dreams."
As we've just passed the 32 year mark since the films release, you would think that the novelty of that film has probably passed.
Yesterday I rode out with a group of tour guides that were visiting the field in advance of their tours to the famous film site. The plan was to visit the field, see their gift shop, event hall and ultimately tour the home used in the filming of the movie.
When we unloaded from the vehicle, everyone went their own direction.
I decided to walk out to the field right away and found a mom pitching baseballs to her son so he could hit a homerun. Every missed swing meant he'd have to chase after the ball... and every time he threw it back to his mom, his toss would come up short so she had to chase the ball.
"Do you guys mind if I catch for you?"
I got behind home plate to make things a little easier for all involved. Pretty soon some other folks joined in the fun. Some guy and his pal in a Mets jersey took to shortstop and first base... (As a Cubs fan... this is typically where I'd poke fun at a Mets fan, but hey, no judgement here. We are at the Field of Dreams, after all.)
Mom threw a pitch and "CRACK" went the ball as it bounced near second base and rolled into the outfield. We all cheered him on as he rounded first and eventually all the way back to home plate.
For a moment it felt like we were all old friends, just having a little fun on the baseball diamond.
THAT, is what is so special about baseball and the Field of Dreams. It's like an unspoken, universal connection that all of us had.
I moseyed off the field and into the gift shop. They had a ton of great stuff to look at. Clothing, knick-knacks and a beautiful wall with the text from James Earl Jones famous monologue from the film... "Ray. People will come, Ray."
Back outside while we were waiting for the house tour to start I chatted with a lady with her kids playing on the bleachers. She told me her parents owned the land about a mile and a half away and she had brought her kids over for their first visit. When her parents came over we chatted about some of their memories from the filming of the movie.
The tour was starting so we got to the side door of the house and our tour guide, Libby, gave us instructions on how the tour worked. We had to take off our shoes or wear little booties over the top of them. Also, the upstairs to the house is off limits to guests as the home is now used as a home rental.
Inside, the memories come rushing back for any fan of the movie. Some items still remain in the home from the filming. The kitchen countertops, a big yellow tin container in the kitchen and a few of the ceramics on a shelf.
Libby told us about the history of the house and gave us tidbits about the production... some of which I had never heard. (I could share them with you but it would be better if you just took the tour!) We went room to room talking about different scenes you could see in the film. It was a really cool tour.
(I should point out that visiting the field is free but there is a fee for the tour. We did get a cool "I visited the Field of Dreams house" magnet, which is now prominently featured on my home refrigerator.)
We asked a few questions and then made our way out to the front of the house, where we took turns sitting on the famous swing overlooking the field.
It was a really cool experience.
If you build it, they will come... even 30 years later.