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Field of Dreams experience was a home run for White Sox

“It’s the experience. I’m a fan running around right now,” White Sox reliever Liam Hendriks said

(From left) Michael Kopech, Aaron Bummer, Andrew Vaughn and Zack Collins at the Field of Dreams site Thursday afternoon.
(From left) Michael Kopech, Aaron Bummer, Andrew Vaughn and Zack Collins at the Field of Dreams site Thursday afternoon.
Chicago White Sox

DYERSVILLE, Iowa — Rating the “Field of Dreams” movie? That depends on whom you talk to.

The Field of Dreams game between the White Sox and Yankees on Thursday? It got four stars, no matter who was talking, as players arrived in the heart of Midwestern corn country for a game played adjacent to where the iconic 1989 film was shot.

Sox and Yankees players, managers and broadcasters raved about the setting, facility and experience and the opportunity to be a part of it. Those who saw it will never forget its wild finish: a four-run ninth powered by two Yankees homers against Sox closer Liam Hendriks and a game-ending two-run homer by Sox shortstop Tim Anderson — the last of eight homers smacked into the Iowa corn.

Hours earlier, actor Kevin Costner stepped out of that corn beyond the right-field fence, followed by both teams, in a dramatic pregame scene. Shoeless Joe Jackson, the key character in the movie, seemed near.

“The first-place White Sox against the mighty Yankees,” Costner said. “It’s perfect.”

Moments later, Jose Abreu lined a home run in the first inning, the first major-league homer ever hit in Iowa. There would be seven more, from Eloy Jimenez, Seby Zavala and Anderson for the Sox and Aaron Judge (two), Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton for the Yanks.

It was a lot to absorb. Players snapped photos before the game and walked around the field and into the corn surrounding the 8,000-seat park specially made for this event. The Sox wore circa-1919 white home uniforms, and the Yanks were in visiting grays from that era. The house owned by Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, was visible beyond right field. Beyond the left-field fence, the tall corn sloped downward toward an immaculate playing surface.

“The field is beautiful,” Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito said. “I wouldn’t say I was skeptical, but I wasn’t expecting it to be put together so well. Impressive attention to detail. It blew me away.”

Players walked through the house and around the yard of the movie set, taking pictures.

“I sat in the porch swing and on the grandstand with the house in the background,” Hendriks said. “It’s the little things you don’t want to miss. It’s the experience. I’m a fan running around right now.”

Said Sox radio voice Len Kasper: “It’s even cooler than imagined. It’s a big-league experience with all the right touches of nostalgia.”

Even Sox general manager Rick Hahn walked the grounds, taking pictures and showing his son the setting on a FaceTime call.

Many of the players are too young to know or care about the movie. Anderson, an Alabama native who set foot in Iowa for the first time, still hasn’t seen the film, although his wife, Bria, watched it Wednesday.

“Definitely a cool experience,” Anderson said. “Coming from where we’re coming from, to do something like this for the first time, it’s going to be fun. I didn’t know what to expect. It’s all positive.”

Breaking normal travel routine, the Sox stayed in Minneapolis overnight Wednesday after a 1-0 afternoon loss to the Twins, then flew to Dubuque, Iowa, late Thursday morning and took buses to the field. They planned to return to Chicago after the game, have a day off Friday and finish the series Saturday and Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

As corny as it was, this “home” game had a home feel with Gene Honda on public address, “Thunderstruck” blasting before the first pitch and Paul Konerko in the house.

But both teams knew they were far from home when they bused in. Locals in the tiny town waved banners and signs and took pictures.

“There’s something cool about the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees taking a bus into a place that’s not heavily populated,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “There’s something majestic about that.”

The teams were en route to “one of the most beautiful settings we will ever see a game played at,” said Kasper’s partner, Darrin Jackson.

With one of the craziest endings. It was the Sox’ 15th walk-off homer ever against the Yankees. The first? By Joe Jackson himself in 1919.