How the Field of Dreams game can be ‘refreshing’ for Cubs
From a purely logistical sense, Thursday’s Field of Dreams game is a long day in the midst of a long week for the Cubs.
This is a team that is playing 9 games in an 8-day stretch (and 28 games in a 28-day stretch to close out this month).
Thursday, they’ll depart from Chicago in the morning and travel to Dyersville, Iowa for a night game and then head back to Chicago for a one-day reprieve before a road trip that includes stops in Cincinnati (Saturday, Sunday), Washington D.C. (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) and Baltimore (Thursday).
But Thursday’s game is also a unique experience — the second MLB contest played at the historic movie site. It may be a tougher schedule than normal, but the Cubs are certainly enjoying the unique aspect of it.
“It’s definitely a different day,” Nico Hoerner said. “You gotta be a little flexible. The facilities are different and the travel’s different. We’re all pretty used to doing similar things everyday.
“Just enjoying it, making the most of it, understanding it’s a different kind of day in a long season. That can be refreshing too.”
This is a stadium in the middle of a corn field that holds only 8,000 fans. There are clubhouses around, but nothing like the big stadiums MLB teams are used to in the middle of cities.
And there are no hotels right across the street, so it will very much be a “get off the bus and play” type of day for the Cubs and Reds.
“I did that a lot in the minor leagues,” Patrick Wisdom said. “That’s how it was — you drive in, get off the bus and go play. I think it will bring some fresh perspective to the game and showing that it’s just a game. We’ll have fun with it.”
David Ross often reminds his players to take a step back and enjoy what they’re doing. He talks regularly about the atmosphere at Wrigley Field and how lucky the Cubs players and coaches are to come to work at such an iconic stadium every day.
The Cubs manager wants his players to look at this game from a similar lens.
“Cool experience,” Ross said. “A little break from the monotony of the major league season and park-to-park and travel. So many cool things about that.
“I think it’s just really neat to be able to put yourself in that environment — a small stadium within the middle of nowhere in Iowa in cornfields and wearing the unique jerseys. All the cool things that come along with that and the spotlight of being on a primetime game is always fun.”
The intimate setting is a big selling point for the Cubs, too.
Ross was in Williamsport, Penn., in 2019 when the Cubs played in the Little League Classic (he was working for ESPN at the time). That stadium holds a little over 2,000 people.
“You’re that close to fans and that intimate with just baseball and no other distractions around,” Ross said. “It’s not like you’re coming straight from the bars. You’re there for baseball and just a really cool atmosphere. We’ll go out there and try to put on a good show.”
Ross watched the movie recently with his children. Many Cubs players admitted they haven’t seen it recently but planned to before the event.
Drew Smyly — who is slated to start the game for the Cubs — might watch it again on the plane and bus ride to Iowa to get “jacked up” for the game.
“Super cool,” Smyly said. “When you have a chance to do some special things like that that MLB sets up and it seems like the whole country tunes in and watches, it’s pretty neat.
“To be able to take the ball and take the mound in that game and try to get the Cubs a win is neat. I’m excited to see the field. ‘Field of Dreams’ was one of my favorite movies when I was growing up.”
The Cubs are looking forward to walking through the corn field and seeing the house from the movie. But the also have another item on the agenda.
“Win,” Wisdom said. “Cap it all off with a win. Hopefully we can bring a [W] flag and they can hoist it up too.”