Tim Anderson hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning into the cornfield to end the Field of Dreams game in cinematic fashion, as the Chicago White Sox outslugged the New York Yankees 9-8 Thursday night in the first Major League Baseball game in Iowa.
Anderson, who was clearly having as much fun as anyone in attendance and had an earlier RBI double, danced his way around the bases and wiggled his hands around his neck as he headed for home and the celebratory dousing at the plate from his teammates.
That sent the crowd of 7,832 back through the corn and to their cars after a light and fireworks show at the made-from-scratch stadium next to the filming site of the beloved 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner. Even the Yankees fans who made the trek could hardly have headed home anything but happy with the experience.
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, 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 longballs in all, two by Judge.
And it had a Hollywood finish, too, with the game-saving shot by Anderson. So what if it was more from “The Natural” than “Field of Dreams”?
José Abreu hit the first drive into the sea of green stalks, and teammates Eloy Jiménez and Seby Zavala followed him with homers for the White Sox.
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.
Jiménez had a three-run shot in the third inning. Then Zavala added a two-run homer in the fourth to hang seven runs on Yankees starter Andrew Heaney, who lasted five innings on this vintage summer night in farm country with the teams in 1919-style uniforms to match.
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.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa missed the game, with bench coach Miguel Cairo filling in, to attend the funeral for his sister’s husband in Florida. The 76-year-old La Russa would’ve fit right in at the site, with his team in vintage wear.
“I was raised to embrace the history of the game, and I think too often we lose parts of it,” he said earlier this week. “‘Field of Dreams’ is a great movie, and it embraces everything about family and all the game’s all about.”
Not quite the Moonlight Graham
Both teams were allowed a 27th man on the roster, so the Yankees chose outfielder Estevan Florial and the White Sox summoned outfielder Danny Mendick. Florial was about as close as a player could come to Moonlight Graham, who got in only one major league game with the New York Giants in 1905, became a doctor in Minnesota and had a significant role in the movie plot. The 23-year-old Florial had 28 prior plate appearances for the Yankees this season.
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole and LHP Jordan Montgomery, both on the COVID-19 list since Aug. 2 and 3, respectively, rejoined the team in Iowa and could be slotted back in the rotation this weekend.
White Sox: C Yasmani Grandal, on the injured list since July 6 with a torn tendon in his knee, went 2 for 3 with a walk Wednesday in the first game of his rehab assignment with Double-A Birmingham.
After an off day on Friday that was built into the schedule as a contingency for rain, the Yankees and White Sox travel east to Chicago to finish the three-game series.
RHP Jameson Taillon (7-4, 3.82 ERA) pitches for the Yankees on Saturday night, with RHP Dylan Cease (9-6, 3.99 ERA) taking the mound for the White Sox.
Anderson HR for Chisox, walkoff end in Field of Dreams game