‘Wow. This is truly incredible.’ Chicago Cubs soak up the unique atmosphere at the Field of Dreams game. – The Denver Post


Chicago Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom searched for the right words.

“Wow,” Wisdom exclaimed, his eyes shifting to the dirt infield where a few fans played catch. “This is truly incredible.”

Each Chicago Cubs player and staff member found a moment to appreciate the unique Field of Dreams environment Thursday.

After the Cubs took a team photo in front of the manual scoreboard in right field, Willson Contreras paused at the edge of the dirt behind first base and held up his camera phone, panning it across the field. Kervin Castro recorded fellow pitcher Anderson Espinoza making the movie classic walk out of the cornstalks onto the outfield grass from “Field of Dreams.” A grinning Rowan Wick climbed atop a green tractor in front of the famed white farmhouse and soaked in the view. Hitting coach Greg Brown, assistant hitting coach Johnny Washington and coach Juan Cabreja gathered for a photo on the farmhouse porch swing.

Marcus Stroman, with his camera in hand, roamed between the ballpark, through the cornfields and the film set. He took a picture with his cardboard cutout that was immersed within the corn along the gravel path from the ballpark to the original field. His image was among others interspersed between the fields, including cutouts of Contreras, Wisdom, Ian Happ, Nico Hoerner, Seiya Suzuki, Christopher Morel — and the recently optioned Frank Schwindel.

At one point during the Cubs’ pregame tour of the complex, Stroman snapped a photo of Franmil Reyes posing with a Field of Dreams sign in front of the cornstalks.

“Just trying to snap as many shots as I can, just be present,” Stroman said. “I like taking pics, so just out there trying to capture moments. Some decent candids with my guys. Obviously you have the aesthetic of the field, the whole atmosphere, trying to capture the vibe of where I’m at through my lenses, which is different from anybody else’s.”

The dismal records of the Cubs and Cincinnati Reds — the Cubs won 4-2 behind Drew Smyly’s nine strikeouts and a three-run first inning — didn’t detract what this marquee game meant for both teams. Rocking throwback cream uniforms, prompting multiple players to hope they are incorporated in future seasons, the Cubs cherished playing for a sellout crowd of 7,823 fans.

“We’re so used to playing in these huge stadiums and to have that little bit more back to roots-home feeling, whether it was college or any of those moments where you get to kind of play in front of a more intimate crowd,” Happ said. “You roll up on a place like this, and it really brings you back to some of those drives you had through cornfields to play baseball with your family, and that’s what this is all about.”

It was a rare opportunity for baseball fans in Iowa to watch a local big-league game in person or TV, especially for fans of the Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa affiliate in Des Moines. Major League Baseball’s blackout restrictions severely limit which teams fans in the state can watch TV broadcasts.

“We have to continue to make sure that we get baseball to every single corner of this country that wants to watch it to grow the game that way,” Happ said.

The game marked the Cubs’ third premier MLB event, joining their 2019 appearance in the Little League Classic and a two-game series next year in London. This is the second Field of Dreams game after the White Sox and New York Yankees played in the inaugural event last August, which resulted in a walk-off win for the Sox.

Out of playoff contention for a second straight season, these type of games give Cubs’ less experienced players a taste of the attention and hoopla around big games. Morel, 23, didn’t debut until May 17, yet he quickly has become one of the young, exciting players on the North Side with an opportunity to showcase his game on national stage. After spotting his cutout in the corn field, Morel said it’s because of Cubs fans’ support.

“When I got here, the last thing that I expected was that my cutout was going to be out there, that I would be there, especially with the short amount of time that I have here with the team and in the big leagues,” Morel said. “But I’m just thankful to God and I’m thankful to the team for giving me an opportunity.”

Stroman would like to see future MLB showcase events be based around the Negro Leagues culture.

“Creating an atmosphere within an inner-city community that can be resembling of Negro Leagues almost,” Stroman said. “I think there’s a lot of ways that can go with it, to be honest, but that’s that’s an angle I would like to see them go towards. … Being an African American in the big leagues, there’s becoming less and less population of us in the big leagues, so I think it’s important to spread light and to show the inner-city youth gain some excitement for them and give them role models to look up to where they may not normally have that on the day to day.”



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