By Peter Gleason and the Associated Press
Tim Anderson hit a two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning into the cornfield to end the Field of Dreams game in Hollywood fashion, as the Chicago White Sox outslugged the New York Yankees 9-8 in the first Major League Baseball game in Iowa.
“The fans came to see a show, and we gave them a show,“ Anderson said.
Anderson, who had an earlier RBI double, hit the first pitch from Zack Britton (0-1) for his 13th homer of the season.
Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton each hit two-run homers for the Yankees in the top of the ninth off All-Star closer Liam Hendriks (7-2), as the movie-themed throwback event became a home run hitting contest into the cornfield.
This was precisely the thrill many players hoped aloud for prior to the night. There were eight long balls in all, two by Judge.
It had a Hollywood finish, too, with the game-clinching shot by Anderson. So what if it was more from the 1984 “The Natural” than the 1989 “Field of Dreams?”
“He’s been the energy, the man, of our team. What a leader,” said White Sox acting manager Miguel Cairo, who filled in for Tony La Russa.
They played next to the filming site of the beloved 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta and James Earl Jones, and even the Yankees fans who made the trek could hardly have headed home anything but happy with the experience.
Starting pitcher Andrew Heaney, who was tagged for seven runs in five innings in another struggle with his new team, was having a hard time reflecting on the memories in the aftermath.
Still, even though the Yankees fell into fourth place in the AL East — and in the race for two wild-card spots — there will be no forgetting this trip for the rest of their careers.
“That was as special and breathtaking a setting for a baseball game as I’ve ever been part of,” manager Aaron Boone said.
Jose Abreu hit the first drive into the sea of green stalks, and teammates Eloy Jimenez and Seby Zavala followed him with homers for the White Sox on this vintage summer night in farm country with the teams in 1919-style uniforms to match.
Judge wore custom-painted cleats to commemorate the film, with the famous line “If you build it, he will come,” printed on the tongues and cornstalks on the sides.
League ERA leader Lance Lynn sidestepped a three-run homer by Judge and a solo shot from Brett Gardner to finish five innings for the White Sox, remaining unbeaten in his last eight starts.
Costner started the evening with a star’s entrance, slowly walking out of the cornrows — like Shoeless Joe Jackson and his ghost-like teammates did in the film — before turning to watch the players do the same for their made-for-TV pregame introductions. Costner’s address to the fans included the obligatory question in ode to the famous line from the movie, “Is this heaven?”
No, it’s Iowa, but MLB will be back, as Commissioner Rob Manfred promised for 2022, the teams still to be determined.
“I wish we had a little time here to kind of take it all in and really appreciate it,“ Gardner said, “but the season moves along in a hurry.”