The MLB's Field of Dreams-Maker
We were torn on who to nominate for the MLB at Field of Dreams game. Was it the now-deceased Denise Stillman, the visionary who bought the Iowa farm where the movie was filmed? Was it Commish Rob Manfred, who saw the vision for the game back in 2016? Was it BaaM Productions, who executed the event (also the team behind the NHL’s “Winter Classic”)? Was it architecture firm Populous or the experts BrightView, who brought that heavenly park to life? Or Fox, who brought the cinematic drama to those of us at home? Anyone in this business knows there’s usually one person behind the scenes, calling the shots, herding the cats, ensuring the vision is right — and in this case, we have identified Brian O’Gara, MLB’s VP of Events and Game Presentation, as that guy. Sure, he’s the one who got Costner involved. But he’s also the person who, after MLB pushed the game back a year, got in his car and drove from New York to Deyersville, Iowa, in summer 2020 to check the height of the corn in the fields so he could properly plan for the fan and player experience the following summer. Yeah, Brian’s the man. (He’s also the All-Star Game and World Series guy, FYI.)
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Field of Dreams, MLB announced plans to build a park in Dyersville, Iowa. After a yearlong pandemic delay, the big game finally took place in August 2021. And it was magical. So much thought went into every element of the game — from Costner himself (along with White Sox and Yankees players) coming out of the cornfields and announcers outfitted in old-timey garb to Chevy’s hot-dog-wrapped-in-apple-pie activation. Perfection. The experience was one of those moments where life felt like a movie and actually exceeded expectations — during a very dark time in our lives. The event was graced with a glorious sunset and capped off with a spectacular walk-off home run that gave the White Sox a dramatic win. It could not have been scripted better. As Ray (aka Kevin Costner) said in the movie and during the game, “Is this heaven?” Yes, it is.