by Alex Poletti
Photo by Universal Studios
At the start of the year, the 2020 baseball calendar had March 26 marked as Opening Day, with the Cubs taking on the Brewers in Milwaukee to begin the season. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season was postponed, meaning the stadiums were left without players or fans. Taking advantage of this, the players from the “Field of Dreams” decided to move into the Major League parks for a bit.
“I mean, no one was using them anyway,” early-1900s baseball icon Shoeless Joe Jackson says before a game between baseball ghosts at Miller Park in Milwaukee. “It seemed like a waste not having someone play on these fields. And, to be honest, we’ve gotten pretty sick of the cornfield and its inconsistent infield.”
Fifteen games were played on the 2020 would-be Opening Day, with damned souls from the dead-ball era to modern day filling 30 full rosters. This marks a turn of the tables, as the Yankees and White Sox were to invade Iowa on August 13 to play a game on the 1989 movie-set-turned-tourist-attraction.
“It’s a little insulting that they were going to do that,” Jackson, a de facto spokesperson for the cause, says. “We’ve been playing there for years. They built it and we came, and they were just going to take it away from us? It may sound spiteful, but I’m glad there’s a bit of karma.”
Since ‘89, when the Kevin Costner star vehicle was filmed, the games have been non-competitive, with no formal league in place. However, with all 30 Major League stadiums vacant for the next few months, that may change.
“We’ve all been hankering to play for a title, especially us Black Sox guys,” Jackson explains. “Now, it looks like we’ll be able to do it, albeit in an abbreviated season. And whoever wins MVP, instead of winning the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award, they’ll win the dead body of Kenesaw Mountain Landis.”
Even with several thousand players eligible and many more soon to the ranks, teams are still hoping they can secure a few more players before the season gets too deep.
“We were hoping to get Big Papi on the squad a couple of months ago,” Moonlight Graham, who is heading a team out of the Target Field in Minneapolis, says. “He ended up surviving, which is good for him, but really a bummer for the cleanup spot in our lineup. But we’re living in deadly times, so hopefully we get some reinforcement soon.”