STMA members play critical roles for MLB’s Field of Dreams game

The Sports Turf Managers Association celebrates its members for their involvement in the preparation of the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, IA.

To accommodate the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox game played on August 13, 2020, a temporary 8,000-seat ballpark will be constructed at the site where the 1989 movie was filmed. This will be the first regular Major League Baseball game contested in the state of Iowa.

Adjacent to the original Field of Dreams, a new stadium and playing surface will be constructed from scratch to ensure MLB standards are met. In total, 17 acres of the cornfield will require grading to accommodate the infrastructure. The field will be a sand-based natural grass system with a complete underdrain system. A fully automatic irrigation system will also be installed to manage the bluegrass sodded field.  BrightView will oversee the installation of new foul poles, bullpens, a batter’s eye and backstop net while BaAm will build the temporary seating, locker rooms, media and press box areas in conjunction with Populous.  The majority of the sitework and subbase system will be completed this fall. In the spring of 2020, USGA modified rootzone materials and sod will be added with an estimated completion date of mid-July.  Following the historic contest, the field will remain with fencing included.

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Construction and maintenance of the field as well as site grading will be overseen by BrightView, the nation’s leading landscape services company and Major League Baseball’s sports turf consultant.  Each BrightView employee on the project is an STMA member. Nearly a dozen members of STMA will form the team responsible for ensuring the field upholds the standards of a typical MLB venue on game night.

“Sports Field managers ensure safe playing fields where athletes at all levels can achieve their dreams day in and day out,” says Kim Heck, CAE, CEO of STMA. “This will be an historic event and we are looking forward to working with our Iowa chapter to make it a great experience for the thousands in attendance and the millions watching from around the world.”

“This is a very special project,” says Murray Cook, President of BrightView Sports Turf and past President of STMA. “Everything will be built from scratch; from the pitcher’s mound, to the outfield, to the entire ballpark itself. Being the first MLB game in Iowa, we are especially pleased to have many Iowans on our construction and maintenance teams to assist with the project.”

Next year’s Field of Dreams game is the latest venture between BrightView and MLB. BrightView’s’ team maintained and prepared the playing surface for the London Series between the Yankees and Red Sox earlier this season. In 2016, they did the same for the game held at Fort Bragg Field between the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves. The two also renovated historic Bowman Field at BB&T Park in 2017 for the inaugural Little League Classic in Williamsport, PA and prepared the field in each subsequent year.