The Field Of Dreams game was last night! Last year’s premier edition was a pure delight, a festival of the mythology of baseball in all its mawkish glory. But as we all know, Major League Baseball is incapable of just letting a good thing be good, so a bunch of buzzword-brained PR people spent the next twelve months trying to figure out how the game could generate even more online chatter, and came up with, uh, whatever the hell this was:
An all-time “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” only possible through the magic of Field of Dreams pic.twitter.com/IC8yHrFZQT— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 12, 2022
I actually don’t think the hologram looked quite as bad as most of Twitter seems to think, but I am just as creeped out as everyone else about the mere idea of re-animating the Bud Light-bloated corpses of beloved baseball figures of the past.
Regardless, we can all see where this is going. Just as the NHL took the wonderful Winter Classic and overexposed it to death with outdoor games that now seemingly happen all year long, all across the continent, on surfaces that may or may not even be ice, you can bet that Major League Baseball is currently figuring out how many more games in exotic locales it can squeeze into next year’s schedule.
This is inevitable, and some of it will be fine. At some point, there will almost certainly be a game played at Rickwood Field, the Negro Leagues ballpark in Birmingham that’s older than Fenway and hosted nearly every major player of the early 20th century at one time or another, from Cool Papa Bell and Satchel Paige, to Ty Cobb and Willie Mays, who grew up just a few miles away and was starting games in centerfield there as a 16-year-old. But then the commissioner’s office will start running out of ideas, corporate sponsors will be given a bigger role, and Fox will try to Fox-everything up. And then one day in the near future, Mookie Betts will be running down a fly ball on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the MasterCard Salute To The Troops Troopity Troop Classic.
Before we get there, I’d like to offer my services to Rob Manfred, and present him with five ideas for where to play the next midseason cash-grab. I don’t even expect compensation, I’ll just settle for a fancy job title. How about “Special Advisor To The Commissioner, Cool-Ass Ideas Department”? Works for me, Bob, I’ll get the business cards printed up.
Now, let’s start ideating:
- This Giant Empty Field In Turner, Montana
Ladies and gentleman, I give you the single furthest point from a Major League ballpark in the lower 48 states: Turner, Montana.
Do you know what you have to do if you live in Turner, Montana and you want to go see an MLB game? First you have to drive 186 miles to the nearest commercial airport in Great Falls. Then you have to turn to your companion and say “did you remember to lock the cow gate?” And then they roll their eyes and say “yes, of course I locked the cow gate,” and you say “are you sure? Remember that time we went to Medieval Times, and you said you locked the cow gate, but you didn’t, and then Cliff Gravelman got all pissy because that one cow wandered off and stared into his bathroom window while he was shaving and he got scared and cut himself? You didn’t lock the cow gate that time.” And then they say “well what the hell do you want me to do, drive back 186 miles to the single furthest point from a Major League ballpark in the lower 48 states, just to check on the cow gate? It’s locked, don’t worry about it.” And then you have to be all passive-aggressive to each other for 20 minutes at TGI Fridays 2-Go before boarding your flight to Seattle, where your only baseball-watching option is the team with the single longest postseason drought in North America. That’s not ideal. What is ideal, though, is this giant empty field on the corner of Main Street and Railroad Ave, down by ol’ Mr. Gravelman’s place. Let’s make it happen.
2. This Cool-As-Shit Sandbar I Saw On Cape Cod Last Week
Check out the size of that sand bar! It’s called the Brewster Flats, it stretches over a mile out to sea, and all week I saw people playing wiffle ball on it and it looked fun as hell. What makes it an even cooler place for a ballgame is that the tide comes in remarkably quickly. One minute you’re on dry land, saying “wow, check out that hermit crab” as you point to something that’s definitely not a hermit crab, and just two minutes later you’re knee-deep in the water. You know what that means, Rob? That’s right, I just solved your pace-of-play problem. The game literally can’t go past the three-hour mark.
3. This Parking Lot In Hoboken, New Jersey
From 1939 all the way through 2003, MLB teams played an exhibition game at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown every year on Hall of Fame weekend. It was a magical way to celebrate baseball in the place of its birth, and it was also, of course, total bullshit. The game was not invented in Cooperstown, and the idea that it was is a completely ahistorical myth that has its roots in early 20th century anti-immigrant sentiment. Where the game actually was invented (to the extent that it can be said to have been invented at all, as opposed to merely slowly evolving from an ancient tradition of Anglo-Saxon bat-and-ball games, which it really can’t, but oh well) is Hoboken, New Jersey, on the grass of the Elysian Fields. The fields no longer exist, having long been erased like a blackboard as America rolled by like an army of steamrollers, but this parking lot in the shadow of Frank Sinatra Drive is still there. How can you not be romantic about baseball?
4. Literally On Top Of One The Most Significant Archeological Heritage Sites In The World
My God, take a look at that picture! What you see above are players from 1914 Chicago White Sox and New York Giants standing on the goddamn Sphinx! Just freaking standing there! With their spikes! And some bats! Probably spitting tobacco juice all over the damn thing! They actually let people do that!
The past was crazy, man. And while I totally think it’s appropriate that we no longer let people climb on top of a 4,500-year-old limestone statue that transfixes the whole world with its mysterious beauty, I do have to admit that the aerial shots would be cool as hell. Come on, Fox, you can’t pass up this opportunity.
5. My Backyard
We already discussed how hard it is to get to a game from Turner, Montana, but do you have any idea how hard it is for me? Well, it’s remarkably easy, actually. I can see the Green Line from my house and be at Fenway in about 20 minutes. But nevertheless, I think I’m a pretty solid party host. I like to keep a full bar on hand, and I always make some nice charcuterie boards with a variety of cheeses and cured meats. I think a good time would be had by all. At the very least, I can promise you one thing: there are no creepy, lifeless broadcasters living in my house. Not that I know of, anyway.