For many baseball fans, especially in Iowa, the thought (or daydream) of playing a game at the iconic Field of Dreams site has entered their minds at least a handful of times. For some, the thought of following in the footsteps of the classic film instantly brings joy to the equation. However you spin it, playing at the same site that Kevin Costner and crew made so famous would be an event worth paying a lot of money for and a dream had by many.
For roughly 8,000 people, they got the chance to experience that and a whole new sensation when Major League Baseball came to town and erected a field picture perfect for the setting and movie history. They were able to experience a taste of the magic that surrounded the Field of Dreams while the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox battled through the corn. The whole experience (even from the television) was the very definition of perfect with many feeling like it truly was Heaven. It put the state of Iowa on the map and marked a first that will go down in the history books.
Following that first comes another first for the Field of Dreams site and the entire state of Iowa. It comes as sanctioned baseball outside the MLB ranks will be played and Iowans will be the ones to take the iconic stage. On September 16 of 2022, the first-ever collegiate game will take place on the hallowed Field of Dreams grounds. Played on the official movie site, the Briar Cliff Chargers out of Sioux City and the Norsemen out of Decorah will come together to battle it out in an exhibition contest. It will mark the first-ever such meeting a collegiate or professional team will play on the historical site.
“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for us and our kids,” began Luther College head coach Bryan Nikkel. “Obviously what happened during the summer brought back a lot of excitement to the Field of Dreams site. We’re just starting to see the ball rolling and what this could mean here for both schools, our alumni, and everyone involved for both institutions.”
For coach Nikkel, entering his eighth season with the Norsemen as the head coach, this continues the memorable work he has done, being one of the most memorable games played by the program. Since joining the team, Luther College baseball has seen a lot of success including two 30-plus win seasons. Joining that resume has two conference tournament titles and a pair of Regional Tournament appearances. In total, Nikkel has amassed a record of 157-109 throughout his time in Decorah where the Norsemen have sent eight players onto the professional level. All that comes after four 30-plus win seasons and two NCAA II National Tournament appearances the the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Augustana College. Nikkel is an alumni of Southwest Minnesota State University.
The contest also includes the Briar Cliff Chargers and head coach Corby McGlauflin who helped initiate the action of getting these two teams down to Dyersville.
“Someone in our alumni office texted me the night of the Field of Dreams game saying “how cool is this?”, began began the fellow Southwest Minnesota State University alum. “He said to me, “we’re going to play there”. I initially laughed it off and then Monday when I walked into the office he told me we’re actually going. Next thing you know I’m talking with coach Nikkel and then we’re out at the Field of Dreams walking on the grounds checking out the site.”
This too will perhaps be one of the most memorable games he will be a part of. As a coach going into his sixth overall year of head coaching and third year at Briar Cliff, McGlauflin has also been around the game and knows the gravity of the situation.
“This is something that means so much to our players, fans, and community,” said McGlauflin. “It’s something that’s never been done before and to do it at such a wonderful place makes it even more amazing.”
McGlauflin comes to the Chargers program after leading Bismark State College to an 84-39 record with two conference championships. Prior to that, McGlauflin also coaches at the high school level as an assistant with Sioux City North High School and Bishop Heelan Catholic High School.
Again, the game will be played on Sept. 16 of next year. Exact time and ticket information are still to be determined. IAbaseball will update things as soon as they arrive.
To catch the full story and more, check out our interview with both coaches on our weekly show HighandTight! Link below ⬇️⬇️⬇️