Joey Votto May Be the Only Recognizable Player Coming Out of the Corn Field Next August
Leave to Major League Baseball officials to ruin a good thing. Their new plan for a follow up Field of Dreams game, already planned for August of 2022, will in all likelihood join the list of bad ideas like home team advantage for the league that wins the All-Star Game and runners on second to begin extra innings and day-night double-headers and no-pitch intentional walks and . . .
Last week, thanks to the first ever Field of Dreams game, baseball had finally got something right. Two contending teams, numerous young stars as well as popular veterans, earned baseball its highest ratings in fifty years.
The White Sox were obvious choices for the game, given that Kevin Costner's film focused on Joe Jackson of the 1919 American League Champions. Fortunately for the sport Chicago happens to be one of the youngest and exciting teams, sparked by charismatic shortstop Tim Anderson and reigning Most Valuable Player Jose Abreu.
As for the Yankees, it was a no-doubter for the most storied franchise to participate in the game. They, too, have a popular young star in Aaron Judge, in addition to veterans Giancarlo Stanton and fearsome fireballer Aroldis Chapman.
The contest between the two clubs got even added excitement, as the Yankees clubbed a pair of home runs to tie it in the ninth. An already unforgettable game became immortalized when Anderson, batting in the bottom of the ninth, sent a pitch sailing over the fence into the green rows of Iowa corn for the walk-off White Sox victory.
Three hundred and sixty days afterward, baseball seems intent on making a sequel less like Rocky II and more like Cheaper By the Dozen II. The latter title certainly applies to the visiting team in next year's Field of Dreams game, the Chicago Cubs.
Having last month dealt four of the star players who helped the Cubs to the 2016 World Series championship, the Wrigley Field unit has entered a bare-bones rebuilding period. Few of the guys wearing Chicago uniforms at Field of Dreams 2022 will be recognized by no one beyond the North Side.
Their opponents will be a little more recognizable, but not by much. The Reds will still have former Most Valuable Player Joey Votto at first base, a Canadian who has almost no association with the corn fields of Dyersville, Iowa.
Unlike their rebuilding opponents, the Reds on the mid-August date could at least be on the fringes of contending for the postseason. Still, Cincinnati has not won a playoff series in over twenty years, so it will not attract viewers the way the Dodgers or Giants or Mets would.
So Major League Baseball has pretty much set itself up for a hugely disappointing sequel to the Field of Dreams game, where the first pitch is likely to come from journeyman left hander Wade Miley to virtually unknown Michael Hermosillo. Similar matchups would presumably just as unexciting, but fans who stay awake until the later innings might just get to see a highlight.
Given his turbulent past against the Cubs, Cincinnati reliever Amir Garrett could stir some excitement if he takes the mound. Even though his nemesis Javier Baez was traded away, Garrett could still find a foe or two in the Reds lineup at whom to hurl some chin music.