30 years ago and a pandemic, amidst the maizales from the state of Iowa (USA), a man heard a voice. “If you build it, he will come.” As would have happened to any sensible person, he was uneasy. Hear voices, even in the lonely and immense plains from Iowa, it wasn’t a good sign.
Build what? Why? What do you want of me? Those are questions that everyone would ask themselves, even St. Francis when he heard from God. But this pagan revelation of Ray Kinsella -so the name of this farmer- shows him a baseball field. And that’s what he did: he threw hectares of ears of corn and built this park, which until now is still there in Dyersville, Iowa, a ‘city’ that currently has just 4,139 people, who watched in amazement as a madman walked happily to the economic ruin.
This is the beginning of the movie ‘The Field of Dreams’, which he directed and acted Kevin Costner and that immediately – and as often happens with film myths: against all odds – it became a reference film in United States. It is, perhaps, the film that best represents one of the passions of that country: the baseball, which is also known as “the national pastime.”
Something has baseball, that game so strange and incomprehensible to many, which is the sport that has the best movies. You can talk about ‘Moneyball‘(The Fortune Game, with Brad Pitt), or ‘The natural‘(The best, with Robert Redford) or’For the love of the game‘(For the love of the game, also with Kevin Costner).
“It’s cinema gringo for a gringo sport, ”says a soccer scholar who, like most Ecuadorians, is not interested in baseball at all. And it’s not that there isn’t films about soccer. There are and good ones.
They have, however, a problem: the game. There is nothing more implausible and poorly acted than a football game in a movie. As the film critic says David arranzThey are “two great passions that they have never finished mixing. There are no great football movies. Yes, there are a large number of films in which football plays a secondary role, sometimes a common thread, but not about the game itself ”.
It’s almost always the stories around the game. But baseball is co-star, perhaps because technically its execution is more natural. It is a game whose emotion is not based on continuity. It has no time limit: it could last forever. A play does not last more than 10 seconds. Then there is a pause that may be longer, long enough for the drama.
Perhaps there is one more fact that is substantial to them: it is based on error. Is there anything more dramatic than that? Not like others sportsAnyone who guesses three out of ten can be considered a baseball genius.
Last Thursday, in an act of marketing and extraordinary spectacle, Major League Baseball organized the first game on the ‘Field of Dreams’. It was also the first game in Major League history in Iowa.
The game was played between the Yankees of New York, the most recognized baseball team in the world, and the Chicago White Sox. It was for this painting that Kinsella built that field.
In 1919, eight White Sox players accepted money in exchange for losing in the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Until now they are known as ‘Black Sox’. They were suspended for life, including one of the best of all time: ‘Shoeless‘(Barefoot) Joe Jackson, who admitted to taking the money, but was the best player in the Series.
Jackson was the idol of Kinsella’s father. And this is when the part that makes this film – despite the kitsch, the tearful, even – comes in, transcends the baseball and contains a universal meaning: the passion for a sport and for a T shirt it is a family legacy; unites generations. It is even what can reconcile parents and children in the face of any tension.
Kinsella was a product of his time, a young man from the 60’s. And because of his arrogant moral superiority, he despised his father and stopped seeing and talking to him after telling him that he could not believe that he admired a criminal. But as always happens, the son was left with the emptiness of never having asked him for forgiveness, telling him he loved him or introducing him to his granddaughter.
As the New York Times puts it, “The genius of ‘Field of Dreams,’ and perhaps the reason the film lasted, is that it knows it shouldn’t make sense.” Other players arrive at the park who join the eight convicted, including Kinsella’s father (before having him) and who could not be professional as I dreamed. She does not tell him that she loves him, but enunciates a phrase that will be the end of the film: “Dad, do you want to play catch?”
That phrase was enough to unleash the emotions of Americans, who lead separate family lives for work and school reasons. And it applies to any sport in the place of world they want: who would not give his life to kick the ball again in a round trip with his father as when he was a child?
One thing is emotion and another is the reality that takes advantage of that feeling: marketing. They did not play in the same field of the film, but to less than 200 meters they built a stage suitable for a big party suspenders and with capacity for 8,000 people. The tickets They cost up to $ 4,500 to resell.
And the game also had a movie ending: a quadrangular that traced the match. And they already said that they will play more games in that retro stadium in the middle of the cornfields. Baseball has had dirty chapters, but, as he said Diego Maradona, “the ball does not get dirty”. The game -anyone- will always keep its essence. And the fan lives it like this.