Tim Wisecup didn't build it. Instead, he voted.
Just like the movie, out of the cornfield they came last Saturday night. In Columbus, Ohio, of all places.
On the spur of the moment (after finding out earlier that morning), my wife and I ordered the $10 general admission tickets online and made the two-hour drive to Huntington Park to watch the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team play a six-inning exhibition baseball game against a non-professional unit led by Wisecup and 10 of his friends.
Last year, Pepsi MAX challenged fans across the country to compile their fantasy lineups of former Major League Baseball greats for its Field of Dreams promotion.
Wisecup is a chemist from Hilliard, Ohio, who won the promotion. Part of his prize was throwing out the first pitch before Game 2 of the 2011 World Series.
Against the Dream Team, he assembled his lineup by picking people who would enjoy the experience - who were not necessarily "athletes."
Team Wisecup was treated like royalty from posing with the Dream Team for a pre-game photo shoot to answering questions with local television personalities. The players saw their names in lights on the jumbotron and even acknowledged fans in the stands with their autographs. In front of a standing-room only crowd, the Dream Team did not disappoint. Frank "Big Hurt" Thomas lived up to his billing in his first at-bat by homering beyond the auxiliary wall which was made to look like cornstalks, and well into the left-field bleachers.
Defensively, Ozzie Smith made his patented backhanded saves from shortstop, while at third base Wade Boggs blocked everything in his path.
Pitcher Pedro Martinez threw the first five innings and reached 80-plus mile per hour on the radar gun. Not shabby for 40 years old. Dennis Eckersley with mustache and all was uncharasterically greeted with two home runs in his one inning of relief. The outfield consisted of Dave Winfield in left, Rickey Henderson in center and Reggie Jackson in right. Imagine this trio on the same team in their prime.
One of the most proficient designated hitters in his day Edgar Martinez filled in at second base, while Johnny Bench protected the middle of the infield as a 10th fielder for the final inning. After spending his entire playing career in the state of Ohio with the Cincinnati Reds, Bench received the loudest ovations. Especially when he did his Harry Caray impersonation while singing the "fifth inning stretch."
The 11th member of the Dream Team was Rod Carew, who vowed once he retired that he would never wear a jersey again. He kept that promise and remained wearing a polo shirt while everyone else was decked out in Dream Team attire.
Team Wisecup and his band of buddies kept the score close, and even with the assistance of a few extra outs fell short in a 12-11 defeat.
Hard to fathom that of all the locations in the United States, this event of reliving childhood memories actually took place in our very own backyard. It wasn't Iowa, but it was the next best thing.
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org