booyah Our Mission Begins

Ray Kinsella: "I want to know what's out there! I want to see it!
Shoeless Joe: "But you're not invited."
Ray Kinsella: "Not invited? What do you mean I'm not invited!"

William Patrick
Wearing black socks (how ironic) and sandals, author W.P. Kinsella bats at the Field of Dreams (and hits like a girl, by the way).
We decided the film would be our model for bringing people together.

In the story, Ray Kinsella must convince a noted writer named Terance Mann (J.D. Salinger in the original book) to come with him to the dream field. We decided to do the same. And who better to bring than W. P. Kinsella, the author of Shoeless Joe, the book from which the film is based?

Apparently W.P. doesn't believe his own storylines. While Terance Mann hears the call and follows Ray, W.P. wouldn't even return phone calls.

Kinsella lives a semi-retired life in Chilliwack, British Columbia, east of Vancouver. He was involved in a car accident three years ago, and the incident effectively ended his fiction-writing career. Kinsella lost his sense of taste and smell after the accident and now suffers from lateral-movement vertigo. Obviously, Kinsella had no interest in a long car ride with three strangers.

We finally backed off of Kinsella, as the line between fictional pied piper (Ray Kinsella) and real-life stalker (us) is a blurry one.

Strike one.

© 1997 by Universal City Studios, Inc.
Also in the book, Ray is sent to find an old doctor named Archie "Moonlight" Graham, who was once a ballplayer (played by Burt Lancaster, and based on a real person). Graham was robbed of his one pro at-bat, and never played in the big leagues again. He then became a doctor, but he always wondered what would have happened if he had that one at-bat. Still, he is content with his life and chooses to stay instead of travel with Ray to the magical field.

Deflated, Ray drives home, but picks up a hitchhiker... who turns out to be the young "Moonlight" Graham (played by Frank Whaley), and takes him to the dream field. There he finally gets his turn at the plate and slaps a sacrifice fly to right field. (Okay, he SACRIFICES, we get it, already!)

Unfortunately, we didn't know any doctors who used to be ballplayers and were robbed of their one pro at-bat.

Strike two.

The Voice: "Go the distance."

© 1997 by Universal City Studios, Inc.
We were running out of ideas. So far nobody that worked on the movie appeared to believe in the story. No great writers were going to join our mission. And there weren't any medical students left who would turn down a lucarative minor league contract. Unlike Ray Kinsella in the fictional story, we would not be aided it our quest to bring people together through baseball. It was going to be up to us alone.

In the film, years of rancor and neglect between a father and a son were wiped away with the words, "Would you like to have a catch?" All wounds were healed, and the psychological barriers between them were torn down. Could a game between the two farms erase the boundary between right field and "left & center?"

In the spirit of the story, SportsHollywood hoped to arrange a game of softball between the two stores, because—as we all learned from the film—"baseball brings us together." Maybe through a friendly game, both sides can learn to—if not unify—at least coexist.

This would be the ultimate test of baseball's power: Could a game of baseball traverse the mighty chasm that has opened between right field and "left & center" on the Field of Dreams?

After months of plotting, preparing, and ceaseless work, we were about to see the result, and witness our due reward. It was time for the final pitch...

booyah The Final Pitch

Terence Mann: "People will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray."

Rodney Lee and the Lansings
SportsHollywood invades the Field of Dreams: Rodney Lee with the Lansings
We traveled to Iowa.

Omens were everywhere. We flew on United Airlines, which was running free baseball films that month for their in-flight movies. Incredibly, the film shown on the flight was . . . Field of Dreams!!! It was an uncanny coincidence—or was it?

The words of Steve Eastin were still ringing in our ears—that the field really did have "mystical powers!" We thought, "There is something out there, and if we have the courage to go through with this, what a story it'll make!" Oh wait, that wasn't us, it was just Terence Mann talking in the ear phone...

Still, the field was calling us. This would be the moment of truth. Our question would be simple:

Ray Kinsella: "Wanna have a catch?"

On October 21, 2000, SportsHollywood realized its epic quest, and like Ray Kinsella, attempted to prove that baseball really can bring people together.

SportsHollywood: The message of the film Field of Dreams is that baseball can help bring people together. At the end of the film, Ray Kinsella and the ghost of his father "have a catch" on the field, which symbolizes their acceptance and love of each other, after years of anger and bitterness. In the spirit of that noble message, will you stand out in the center of the field and "have a catch?"



AL AMESKAMP: I'm not much of a sports guy.


KEITH (Manager of Left & Center Field of Dreams): I don't think so. You could try. Al's not a baseball kind of guy. He couldn't catch the ball, probably.

(Image © 1997 by Universal City Studios, Inc.)
No! They all said NO! After the epic long cross-country journey! After hours of negotiation! After the actual film was shown on our plane flight?!? Where was the magic? Where was the power of baseball???

It was our turn to say 'no.' SportsHollywood could not allow it to end this way.

We would ease their friggin' pain, no matter how much we had to hurt them!!!

... So the next day we returned, unannounced, and set a meticulous plan into action...

What did we try to pull? FIND OUT HERE!

The Voice: "Go the distance."


Production FINAL CHAPTER: Did we do it, or strike out? See exclusive video at the Field of Dreams film site and find out!
Production MAIN PAGE: "If you build it, the other guy won't leave." How baseball didn't bring two people together.
Costner BUY THE MOVIE: Buy the DVD or video. (The DVD contains a documentary about the field.)

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