CHICAGO (CBS) — The White Sox will play the Yankees at the Field of Dreams in Iowa in August, and preparations are already underway to make the ballfield come to life.
Right now, the farm turned movie set turned small town tourist attraction is covered in snow; but like in the 1989 Kevin Costner film, if you can use your imagination, you can start to see the major league baseball field that will rise from the cornfield.
While there’s already a baseball diamond at the Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville, Iowa, Major League Baseball is building a larger, temporary 8,000-seat ballpark for the game on Aug. 13.
There will be a pathway to take fans between the game site and the baseball diamond from the film.
The whiz kid helping make it happen is 25-year-old operations manager Roman Weinberg. His office sits in what was Ray and Annie Kinsella’s bedroom in the movie, overlooking the original baseball diamond built in the cornfield at the farm.
“What better place is there to work than the Field of Dreams?” he said. “It’s pretty cool, because no matter how busy I am, I always try to look out that window at least once. It still gives you chills, and you just focus and get back to work.”
Sometimes Weinberg gets to chalk the movie field. He said he’s keeping his fingers crossed he’ll get the job on game day.
Off-limits to everyone, CBS 2 was granted special permission to visit the MLB diamond-to-be. Come August, construction markers and snow will be replaced by bases, grass, dirt, dugouts, and 8,000 seats. That might be intimate by MLB standards, but it’s nearly double the population of Dyersville.
“It’s exciting. I mean, you can just picture it now: thousands of fans coming out,” Weinberg said.
The small stadium will be partly modeled on the Old Comiskey Park.
“It’s going to be surreal for us the day of, and right now it’s just keep your eye on the finish line,” Weinberg said.
If you asked him a few years ago, that’s a dream that wouldn’t come true.
“To say that I would expect the Yankees and White Sox to play literally in our front yard in 2020, it would be a lie,” he said.
Work started on the temporary diamond last fall, and the first set of lights went up just a few days ago.
“I think everyone can agree that it’ll be a very unique venue, and everyone will be able to see the actual Field of Dreams Movie Site from their seat,” Weinberg said.
We've got progress in Iowa!
The first set of lights have gone up at the Field of Dreams site! pic.twitter.com/EiAaD22FU7
— MLB (@MLB) February 1, 2020
The temporary ballfield will include a see-through wall showing the cornfield butting right up against the outfield.
You can bet the site will look just like the movie come Aug. 13, with cars lined up to get to Dyersville.
Dyersville Chamber of Commerce executive director Karla Thompson said hotels up to an hour away are already booked, and MLB hasn’t even sold any tickets yet. They won’t be released until spring.
“We know 8,000 people are coming, because there’s going to be that many tickets; but it’s the unknown of how many people are going to come without tickets,” Thompson said.
Demand for a room is so high, Dyersville is hosting a class Wednesday night for local residents to learn how to become an Airbnb host.
“That’s kind of new out here. So they’ll get information on what’s entailed, how to be a host, what the cost, coverage, what to expect” Thompson said.
The town also is planning four days of fun around the big game, including concerts and an MLB fan festival.
— Telegraph Herald (@TelegraphHerald) January 17, 2020
The question is, where will those fans be coming from? MLB is working out the details, and has said it will make sure tickets are available to Iowa residents, as well as White Sox and Yankees fans.
Work is largely halted for the winter, and Weinberg said construction crews will be back as soon as the weather allows this spring.
The stands will be taken down after the game, but the new field itself will stay. The owners will use it for events like concerts, camps, and baseball games.
Meantime, while Weinberg is hoping for the best, but also worries about some possible problems.
“Ooh. A power outage? Bad weather? Here in Iowa, the weather’s very unpredictable, so you never know,” he said.
A Cubs fan, Weinberg has no personal rooting interest in the game.