One Field of Dreams, another a nightmare

One Field of Dreams, another a nightmare

The only source of electricity close by was the intense lightning that was flashing around my state-park campsite in Central Indiana. And you know what they say about trying to capture that kind of juice in a bottle.

And so it was that, even though I had eagerly anticipated the historic “Field of Dreams” baseball game between the White Sox and Yankees for months. Tuning in to the live broadcast of the Major League classic simply was not feasible.

Perhaps it was just bad planning on my part. Maybe I should have driven to Dyersville, Iowa instead of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

With that said, my first opportunity to view the replay and highlights didn’t disappoint. It was everything I had expected — and more. Credit MLB and FOX Sports for delivering a gem.

There was the build-up featuring narratives by James Earl Jones and Bob Costas. There was Kevin Costner, the marquee star of the movie filmed in the Iowa cornfield 30 years ago, emerging from the tall stalks in center field. The man himself, “Ray Kinsella” moving slowly and introspectively across the field, stopping to stare back toward the green rows of tasseling plants.

And then, the most-awaited, the most magnificent moment of all: the players magically appearing from within the corn much the way Shoeless Joe Jackson did on the silver screen.

I must have watched that sequence a dozen times. Though corny as all get-out, it never failed to stir the emotions, to confirm the notion that baseball — in Iowa or anywhere else on earth — is the next best thing to heaven.

The game itself was out of this world too. A walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to beat the mighty Yankees? The most imaginative screenwriters in Movieland couldn’t have topped that.

Can’t wait for Field of Dreams 2022. It’s been reported the game will pit the Cubs against the Reds.

Pete Rose in the cornfield?

A few other ramblings trapped within the vacuum between my ears:

—If I know track owner/racing kingpin Roger Penske like I think I do, the problems that plagued the last five laps of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be fully resolved come next summer. From what I can gather, Penske and his associates have every intention of putting the Indycars, Xfinity cars and Cup cars back on the challenging, 14-turn road course in 2022.

In case you missed it, issues with the curbing placed in Turn 6 resulted in a chaotic finish Sunday, causing two major wrecks, eliminating a number of big-name competitors and drawing harsh criticism from skeptics who would have rather seen the 2.5-mile rectangle used in the first place.

A pair of lengthy red-flag delays for repairs also set up what proved to be a wild green-white-checkered conclusion to the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, with Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger taking the win and kissing the bricks alongside Akron entrepreneur Matt Kaulig.

Track and NASCAR officials were determined to make necessary repairs instead of ending the race early, which would have meant another black eye for the Indy-NASCAR relationship that has seen dramatic drops in attendance in recent years.

The joint program was the first-ever attempt at running open-wheeled Indycars and NASCAR Xfinity and Cup machines on the same track the same weekend. On Saturday Will Power led the way in the midday Indycar event. Later in the afternoon, Austin Cindric sped to the Victory Lane in the Xfinity race. The first 77 laps on Sunday were met with roaring enthusiasm by those in the crowd, which was noticeably larger than in recent years.

I, for one, experienced heartache for Penske, who since taking ownership of the massive facility just months before the pandemic, had poured his heart, soul and wallet into making the speedway a showcase again. He saw to it that the place was meticulous in all respects.

No one could have predicted the events that derailed the positive momentum in Turn 6 on Sunday. The late-race mess just reminded everyone that in racing, anything can happen.

—Looking forward to some College of Wooster black-and-blue football action on Sept. 4 at John P. Papp Stadium. The Fighting Scots will, for the first time ever, face Geneva College. And remember: kickoff is at 6 p.m. — a rare night home game for the Black and Old Gold.

—One final reflection on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: Considering the millions spent on the various venues, the women’s softball teams deserved to have a field of their own too. Instead, they played their games on the baseball diamond modified for softball use. The basepaths were moved up into the “grass,” and the temporary “dugouts” were under tenting placed near the foul lines.

The Tokyo softball setup was just plain Bush League and disrespectful to the women. Someone should have cried foul about the Field of Screams.

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