Cubs ‘have a catch,’ claim a win over Reds in second ‘Field of Dreams’ game

The Cubs took an early lead, as Seiya Suzuki, Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ combined to drive in three runs in the first inning. Nick Madrigal’s fourth-inning single gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead.

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Willson Contreras and Rowan Wick celebrate after the final out of the Cubs’ win over the Reds on Thursday night in the “Field of Dreams” in Dyersville, Iowa.

Willson Contreras and Rowan Wick celebrate after the final out of the Cubs’ win over the Reds on Thursday night in the “Field of Dreams” in Dyersville, Iowa.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

DYERSVILLE, Iowa — As batting practice wound down Thursday, Cubs team president Jed Hoyer stood in the “Field of Dreams” visitors dugout throwing the ball back and forth with his son.

The moment, marked by the quiet slap of the ball against Hoyer’s bare hands and his son’s mitt, summed up exactly what the coming game was about.

The field the Cubs and Reds played on, a baseball’s throw away from the “Field of Dreams” movie site, was as well-manicured as any major-league field. But everything about it, from the wood-printed padding lining the dugout fences to the barn-shaped batter’s eye, was designed to evoke the nostalgia of a movie about a relationship between a father and son, a story told through baseball.

“I think everybody can remember that and relate to that feeling,” manager David Ross said before the Cubs’ 4-2 victory, “and how, whether your dad’s still alive or not, being able to go back, and what you wouldn’t give to have those moments with family and your parents. I don’t think that ever goes away.”

The pregame ceremonies this year — more than last year, when “Field of Dreams” actor Kevin Costner led the White Sox and Yankees out from the cornfield — were about the bond between parent and child. Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. emerged from between the cornstalks at the edge of right field, and son asked father if he wanted to “have a catch.” As they tossed the ball back and forth, more pairs joined them.

Then came the Cubs and Reds players, recreating another iconic scene from the 1989 movie. As Ross walked by, he joked with Griffey Jr., a Hall of Famer, that it was the first time he’d seen him hit a cutoff man.

The Cubs had made the same walk out of the cornfield hours earlier on the actual movie set.

“The site, the place, the energy that I feel here is better than the movie, to be honest,” catcher Willson Contreras said. “I know what the movie means [to people]. But there’s something special about this place.”

Said outfielder Ian Happ: “Everybody has a story of how they fell in love with the game, the field where they fell in love with the game, the place. And you can really feel that here.”

From the corn, players and coaches wandered across the movie-set field, holding up their phones to take each other’s photos on the porch of the tall white house. A few pitchers started up a game of cornhole.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t know what to expect when you walk in,” catcher Yan Gomes said. “You’re thinking it’s a movie set, but it looks exactly like it. There’s about a bazillion amounts of corn out there. It’s really cool.”

Gomes used FaceTime to call his kids, whom he’d recently shown parts of the movie.

Then it was time to get ready for a game.

The Cubs took an early lead, as Seiya Suzuki, Nico Hoerner and Happ combined to drive in three runs in the first inning. Nick Madrigal’s RBI single in the fourth gave the Cubs a 4-0 advantage.

The Reds cut the deficit in half in the seventh on Matt Reynolds’ two-run double. But that was all the damage they’d do.

As the sun set, the lights came on over both fields, shining bright white over the MLB field and soft orange over the movie set. Long after the game ended, figures still milled about on the other side of the cornfield — walking the outfield, running the bases and no doubt having a catch.

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