The regular season Major League Baseball game on Aug. 12 between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees was more than just a normal nine-inning contest. The highly anticipated game took place at the famous Iowa movie site of the 1989 baseball film “Field of Dreams.”
Billed as the ‘MLB Field of Dreams Game,’ the nationally televised game was the highest rated regular season baseball game in more than a decade. Mimicking the movie, all-star players Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Tim Anderson of the White Sox appeared on the baseball field via outfield cornstalks to begin the game, and both the in-person and television audience were left in awe with one question, ‘How do you convert cornstalks to a baseball diamond?’
The answer lies with BrightView Landscaping, the commercial landscape company working as the official field consultant for MLB.
“The commissioner’s office led the charge and brought in their architect Populous who had the vision to set up the field,” says Murray Cook, president of the BrightView sports turf services division. “BaAM Productions directed the vision and design, Rain Bird was our partner in the full design of the field’s irrigation system. The corn irrigation was coordinated internally with out farmer and BrightView sports turf team.”
The original version of the MLB Field of Dreams Game was initially scheduled for the 2020 season, but the game was postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic-shortened season. The extra time allowed for seating for 8,000 to be installed.
“The majority of the sub base work took place in the fall of 2019 including the installation of the irrigation lines,” says Cook. “The cancelation actually helped us as we were able to tweak some corn planting and irrigation locations a bit more to achieve the corn conditions needed for the event.”
BrightView was responsible for construction, site planning, corn removal, training systems, building the field, vendor and material selection.
“The initial site evaluation occurred in 2015,” says Cook.”We actually looked at the original movie site. It was too small and right field was five feet higher than home plate so we moved the field planning 1,000 feet to the west. Then we came back after a few years and eventually broke ground in August 2019.”