All-Star Weekend in Iowa?

There is one thing to be said about all-star games, they sure can be played anywhere.

Iowa is just what you think it would be, fields, fields and more fields. But in all these fields, there is a story. One particular story that everyone knows is the 1989 classic movie, Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner and Ray Liotta. I had a chance to take a visit up to Dyersville, Iowa this past weekend where the real field of dreams lies.

In 1988, Hollywood built the historic baseball diamond for the film and since then it's been quite the tourist attraction.

"There's not a day goes by that a car doesn't come down the lane," said Becky Boeckenstedt, whose brother Tim Lansing owns part of the field. "They've seen the movie, love the movie and want to come to some quiet little place, and that's what this is."

And would you believe it? There is actually a ghost baseball team that plays on that field. No, not real ghosts, but a community team made of some of the players from the movie.

I really believe the Field of Dreams, over this length of time, has become apart of American culture," said Keith Rahe, who manages the team.

The ghost players play each Sunday from June to September. They even emerge out of the corn when they enter the field!

So June 23 rolled up, and on this Tuesday night, the Field of Dreams was in Clinton, Iowa. This particular field had its own story that day.

The best of the Midwest hustled out onto Alliant Energy Field to a crowd of 2,561 fans for the 55th all-star game in league history. Early on in the night, there was strong pitching from both sides until the third inning when East All-Stars' Dee Gordon scored off a Jaime Pedroza double. From then on, the rest of the game seemed to be the East All-Stars'.

In the fourth inning, West Michigan's Ronnie Bourquin hit a three-run jack to increase the East's lead to five.

"It was a changeup on the first pitch he left up and it felt good going out," Bourquin said. "This was a nice break, and I had a lot of fun and I hope to ride the momentum of the first half and the success in the all-star game into the first half."

Bourquin said he thought he might have a shot at the MVP award early on, but the award ended up going to Fort Wayne outfielder Sawyer Carroll, who went 4-for-4 in the East's domination over the West 6-3.

"I felt good the past few games coming in," Carroll said. "I just wanted to carry it over, find some pitches and I did that. It's just a lot of fun."

Other than Bourquin's slam, there weren't really any high points in the game. The strategy between both teams was basic; hit to get on base and try scoring your runners. The pitching was basic too; throw good mixes but don't over do anything.

When the game ended and the small breezes that blew around the dirt of the field died, the 91-degree heat cooled and the stars tried painting the sky of Clinton, Iowa through the storm clouds. All-Star weekend had come to an end. There were no ghosts leaving in the cornfield or crazy voices whispering nonsense. No, it was calm. It was true baseball. Though not a game filled with nonstop mass runs or strikeouts, it was a game that took you back to times where baseball truly was a pastime. That's the good thing about Minor League baseball; you get to see the game in its most pure form.


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