Ideas for Future MLB Game Sites
DYERSVILLE, Iowa — Egypt. Australia. A hot dog place in Pennsylvania. A junior college in Chicago.
If Major League Baseball is looking for another place for a game, oh man, do we have some fun ideas.
The second “Field of Dreams” game is Thursday night in the cornfields of eastern Iowa, near the site of the beloved 1989 movie. The Chicago Cubs play the Cincinnati Reds after the 2021 game — a wild 9-8 victory for the Chicago White Sox against the New York Yankees — was a smashing success.
But Major League Baseball wants to wait before making a decision on a third “Field of Dreams” date. It has been in contact with multiple cities about future games — including Evansville, Indiana, about Bosse Field, where parts of the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own” were filmed — and it has an internal working group examining the possibilities.
In the meantime, The Associated Press asked several sports and entertainment figures where they would take a major league game if they had a choice, and they responded with sites all over the world.
John Thorn, Major League Baseball’s official historian, wants to return to Egypt. Not only did major leaguers play a February 1889 game near the pyramids, but the earliest record of a bat-and-ball game — seker-hemat, played by Egyptian pharaohs — is from a wall relief in an Egyptian temple.
“Such a game played today would be doubly important as Egypt is not only the cradle of civilization but also the cradle of baseball,” Thorn said in an email.
Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks wanted to play a game in his native Australia.
“Ideally, I’d like to take it to Baseball Park in Perth because that’s where I grew up playing,” Hendriks said. “Especially in Perth, we don’t really get anyone on that coast very often, so being able to take it there would be a treat for everybody involved.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks opened the 2014 season in Australia, with the Dodgers sweeping a pair of games at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Actor Michael Imperioli decided on Rome because he said it’s his favorite city in the world. But he wasn’t sure how it would be received.
“They love basketball there and obviously soccer,” he said. “But I don’t know if baseball translates so well. Although it would be pretty fun to do it there.”
Pretty fun, indeed.
The connection to home was a recurring theme.
Bonnie Hunt, an actor and lifelong Cubs fan, suggested Wilbur Wright College near where she grew up in her hometown of Chicago.
“I would do it there because I remember my dad hitting the ball out for us seven kids out in the outfield, me and my six siblings, and we’d run and get the ball,” said Hunt, the writer, director and showrunner for ” Amber Brown,” a new series on Apple TV+.
“My dad would throw the ball up in the air and hit it himself. And that would be my ‘Field of Dreams’ … to go back to the old neighborhood and be with all the kids I grew up with.”
Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona had a similar thought, but with a twist. Francona and his father, Tito, another former major leaguer, both grew up in New Brighton, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.
Terry Francona, 63, wants to play in his hometown — because of Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe.
“Hot dogs after the game,” a grinning Francona said. “Before and after.”
Like Francona, Phoenix Mercury guard Diamond DeShields also has strong family ties to baseball. DeShields’ father, Delino, spent 13 years in the majors, and her brother, Delino Jr., has appeared in 601 games with three teams over seven seasons.
Diamond DeShields had a more unusual idea.
“I think inside an airport hangar would be cool or an aircraft carrier if it was big enough to have a field like they do in college basketball,” she said. “I’d say like at an army base. Inside a hangar would be great.”
The Miami Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 5-2 in a temporary ballpark at Fort Bragg on July 3, 2016, and a return to a U.S. military post might be an appealing option for MLB.
Bob Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, hit on a couple more possibilities that very well could be under consideration.
“I’m partisan to those few remaining places that the Negro Leagues called home,” Kendrick said in an email, “Rickwood Field as a tribute to Willie Mays and the Birmingham Black Barons or Paterson, (New Jersey) at Hinchliffe when it’s restored as a tribute to Monte Irvin, Larry Doby and teams like the (New York) Black Yankees and others that played on that historic site.”