Since filming the classic sports tearjerker Field of Dreams there in 1988, Kevin Costner has held an unmistakable bond with the now-famous Iowa farm-turned-baseball diamond at which the film was set.
That bond reached an emotional new high for the veteran actor as Major League Baseball hosted its first-ever regulation game Thursday night at what is now simply known as the Field of Dreams outside of Dyersville, Iowa.
It was a showdown between the home-field Chicago White Sox (of course you remember Costner’s Ray Kinsetta beckoned the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the infamous 1919 Chicago Black Sox team by building the field) and the New York Yankees.
And boy, did it live up to the hype, from a tightly produced national television airing to its storybook ending, with ChiSox Tim Anderson sending the crowd of 7,832 into hysterics with a walk-off home run that set off immediate fireworks and had the shortstop dancing around the bases in true Hollywood fashion.
But Anderson (who later admitted he’d never seen Field of Dreams) and those 7,832 fans – who sat in stands specially erected for Iowa’s first ever MLB game – included, it would be hard to say anyone had a better night than Kevin Costner.
The beloved 66-year-old performer was practically speechless in a video released by MLB on social media as he stepped onto the newly renovated field for the first time, occasionally muttering a softly flabbergasted “Wow.”
Costner was essentially the master of ceremonies for a magical night that celebrated both the love of the game and his mystical movie favorite.
As his career choices have indicated, Costner has long been a major fan of baseball, from Bull Durham (1988) to Field of Dreams (1989) in consecutive years to For the Love of the Game (1999) a decade later.
“That was not the best career advice, to make two baseball movies in a row when baseball was thought to be poison or whatever,” Costner told us a 2014 Role Recall interview. But the actor knew it was a special project – especially when it came to that climax.
“It’s not very often do you build a whole movie around a line, which is, ‘Hey, you want to have a catch?’ Most every studio exec would go [yawns]. ‘You mean that’s our big moment? You want to have a catch?'”
That catch, of course, between Ray and the ghost of his dad John Kinsella (Dwier Brown), has been known to turn grown men into sobbing, blubbery messes.
“That’s the power of movies,” Costner said. “That we could create a story to where those lines would have such depth and have such meaning to so many people – you, your dad, people around the country. Men really weep. They don’t cry. They kind of weep about things gone unsaid in your life. And Field of Dreams hit that.”
Meanwhile, a Hollywood icon’s love for a farm in the middle of Iowa only gets stronger.
Watch our Role Recall interview with Kevin Costner: