Saturday, October 1, 2022

Batting Around: What other venues should MLB use for a Field of Dreams-style game?

Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we looked at contenders that needed to do more at the trade deadline. This week we’re going to discuss baseball in unusual places.

Where would you like to see MLB play a Field of Dreams style game in the future?

Matt Snyder: I actually went through five options for this last year. I would love to see MLB do all five, as it has the bandwidth to pull off such special series. If I had to pick one, though, in sticking closest to the theme here, it’s a Sandlot game. From the idea a year ago: 

Could we possibly build an 8,000-seat stadium that somehow resembles the sandlot diamond from the movie, with the fence in left field mirroring the one from the movie? Of course! Let’s even throw a treehouse out there overlooking a lot with a large dog hanging out in it. 

Yes, let’s please do that, MLB. 

Mike Axisa: I love love love when MLB takes the game to different places. The Field of Dreams Game was a blast last year. The Fort Bragg game a few years ago was fun. The London Series was epic. I have so many answers for this question: Curacao, Italy, South Korea, Taiwan, on and on I could go. Did you know the Italian Baseball League has been around since 1948? Let’s send some big leaguers over there. MLB games in New Orleans or on Cape Cod would be a blast too. Bringing major-league baseball places where people don’t have access to it is a worthwhile endeavor, and it doesn’t hurt that it breaks up the monotony of the long season.

To pick just one, I’ll go with Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey. It is one of the few Negro Leagues parks still standing and it is currently undergoing a $94 million renovation (expected to be completed this month). There’s a lot of history there. Larry Doby, who grew up in Paterson and broke the color barrier in the American League with Cleveland in 1947, played at Hinchliffe Stadium with the Newark Eagles. The ballpark was also home to the New York Black Yankees. Guardians vs. Yankees with Negro Leagues uniforms at Hinchliffe Stadium on July 5 (the anniversary of Doby’s MLB debut) is a no-brainer. Get it done, MLB.

Dayn Perry: Let’s have a baseball version of the old Chicago College All-Star Game, in which the NFL champs would face a team of college football All-Stars in an exhibition. In this version, the reigning World Series champs would face a team of college All-Stars. Obviously, the MLB entrant would be massive favorites, but baseball has a great deal of built-in parity, so perhaps we’d see an upset from time to time. This would also be a good way to promote the under-appreciated college game. 

R.J. Anderson: It depends on the parameters. If we’re talking about a setting that played a prominent role in a film, then Durham Bulls Athletic Park is right there. If we’re talking more of a “this would be a dream setting” situation, then you have more varied options. In theory, MLB has the means to build a sandlot field just about anywhere. 

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