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VOL. 131 | NO. 120 | Thursday, June 16, 2016


Lance Wiedower

Finding Baseball Heaven in Iowa

LANCE WIEDOWER | Special to The Daily News

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Driving the two-lane road northeast out of Dyersville, Iowa, it wasn’t hard to hide our intentions from the 9-year-old boy in the backseat.

Yes, like many boys his age spending more than 30 seconds in a car, an electronic device was in his hands. More than that, though, we were in Iowa. So far, much of his experience in Iowa had been fields of newly planted corn, rolling hills and rain. Actually, lots of rain.

And to his credit he had paid attention during the hour-and-a-half drive from Iowa City that morning. But there is only so much rolling farmland a child can take in.

On a recent visit to Minneapolis we decided to drive from Memphis instead of fly, in part because none of us had been to Iowa and I hoped to see one or two highlights of the state as we quickly passed through.

We split up the 13-hour drive with an overnight stop in Iowa City, which came as a good break from the rain, the kind that must be necessary to grow all that corn.

The next morning, thankfully, brought partly cloudy skies without much hint of rain, a welcome sign considering our destination near Dyersville before continuing to Minneapolis.

Maybe it was the magic of the corn, or possibly it was the voice that told Ray to build it some 30 years ago that decided this moment should be sunny. But as we drove down that country road and pulled into the long drive, it seemed the sun was shining bright when we asked the backseat passenger where we were.

He looked up and to the distance, squinting as the light poles came into focus. “Field of Dreams,” he said, adding extra emotion to each word as he realized our destination.

Yes, we made it to the real Field of Dreams, the site where Ray built “it” in the middle of a corn field so everyone would come. Yes, build it and they will come and we did just that.

Just outside Dyersville, Iowa, is the real farmhouse and real baseball field and real fields of corn that starred in the baseball film “Field of Dreams.”

For any baseball fan or movie buff who finds their way to the heart of the heartland, stopping at Field of Dreams is a must. There is no admission charge to walk into the corn or play catch in the outfield.

My son stood on the mound and pitched for a few minutes on a diamond with actual Major League Baseball dimensions. He ran the bases, and slid into home. It was a Field of Dreams made to order for a baseball-obsessed boy.

Dyersville, Iowa, isn’t exactly on the way; in fact, we added more than an hour to our drive to visit.

I hear the state of Iowa is quite fond of a slogan that came from the movie and is printed on T-shirts sold in the gift shop: “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.”

Contact Lance Wiedower at tripsbylance.com.

PROPERTY SALES 85 205 21,165
MORTGAGES 76 206 24,338
BUILDING PERMITS 183 321 43,755
BANKRUPTCIES 48 92 13,560