On August 8, 2019, MLB announced that its first ever game in my home state of Iowa would take place between the White Sox and Yankees at the Field of Dreams. Pat and I were giddy with excitement on the following episode of the Shoeless Goat podcast. We both vowed to make it to Dyersville by any means necessary to witness history.
The game was originally scheduled to happen on August 13th. On March 12th, MLB announced that spring training would be cancelled. On June 30th, Minor League Baseball announced the cancellation of the entire 2020 season. On July 2nd, MLB announced that the Cardinals would replace the Yankees at the Field of Dreams game, which was still tentatively scheduled to be played on its original date. July 24th marked Opening Day of the 2020 baseball season. On August 4th, MLB announced that the Field of Dreams game would be postponed until 2021.
The recent announcement doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the state of the pandemic and Iowa’s abhorrent job managing it, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow. Even though fans wouldn’t have been allowed to attend, the postponement of such a noteworthy event was just the latest kick in the groin to a state that Major League Baseball has turned its back on for years.
There’s a date that I didn’t include in the melancholy timeline above: June 12th. It was arguably more disheartening for my fellow Iowans than any I’ve listed.
Even with no fans allowed, MLB apparently won’t lift blackout restrictions.
A reminder that baseball fans in Iowa who won’t be able to attend games because of COVID-19 will also not be able to watch any Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, Twins, Royals or White Sox games due to blackouts.
— Andrew Miller (@Andrew_Miller36) June 12, 2020
If that sounds patently absurd and flat out unbelievable to you, congratulations – you have common sense. If you still can’t come to grips with the fact that MLB would do such a thing during a time when what used to be America’s Pastime is shedding fans like mad and could truly capitalize on getting as many eyeballs on their game as possible…Well, I don’t know what to tell you.
Whether you live in Iowa or not, head on over to this link and type in your zip code. If you’re well-bred and corn-fed, your results will look something like this.
If you’re a cord-cutter, you’re SOL as far as watching your favorite ‘local’ team in the Hawkeye state. MLB will gladly take your hard-earned money as part of an MLB.tv subscription, but you won’t be able to watch a fifth of the league’s clubs. Infuriating.
From where I live it would take me:
- 6 hours and 45 minutes to drive to Wrigley Field in Chicago
- 4 hours and 11 minutes to drive to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City
- 4 hours and 19 minutes to drive to Target Field in Minneapolis
- 6 hours and 32 minutes to drive to Guaranteed Rate Field (and a ~9 climb to venture to Section 509)
- 6 hours and 29 minutes to drive to Miller Park in Milwaukee
- 7 hours to drive to Busch Stadium in St. Louis
Yet Rob Manfred and his cronies in the league office consider my 3.2 million fellow Iowans and I in-market for every single one of those teams. Yeah, okay pal. If I take the short drive to Omaha only the Royals are blacked out. What kind of sense does that make?
I’ll never quit watching baseball or spending money on MLB’s product, but with systems like this in place it’s no wonder why countless others have.
All that said, I absolutely cannot wait to be in Dyersville for the 2021 Field of Dreams game.