One of Major League Baseball’s most storied franchises will replace another in this summer’s Field of Dreams game — if it’s held, that is.
A source confirmed July 1 that the St. Louis Cardinals will now play the Chicago White Sox in the Aug. 13 matchup.
Meanwhile, Major League Baseball July 1 again reaffirmed its current plans to hold the Dyersville game, which will be the first MLB game in Iowa.
“To date, there has been no change in the status of the event, and we hope to have the option to play,” said the statement — the same as one released in recent days to other media outlets. “Construction is continuing, and we are following all CDC and state protocols regarding recommended safety practices, including social distancing, washing hands and temperature checks before arriving to the site. Safeguarding public health is our top priority. We are monitoring ongoing events and plan to remain as flexible as these circumstances demand.”
It remains unclear whether fans would be allowed at the game, which is to be televised nationally by Fox. Ticket details also have not been announced.
The New York Yankees originally were slated to play the White Sox, which was one of the reasons that the announcement last August of the game in Dyersville garnered national and international headlines.
The matchup change was spurred by this season’s revised, regionally based, 60-game schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The White Sox and Yankees no longer are slated to face off in 2020.
MLB hopes to announce its new schedule this week. Each team will play 40 games against teams in their division and 20 against teams in the corresponding regional division in the other league.
The White Sox are in the American League Central, while the Yankees are in the AL East. The Cardinals are in the National League Central, so they are slated to play the White Sox this year.
Dyersville Mayor Jim Heavens said July 1 he had not been told of the team change. However, he said the switch would not be a bad thing, given St. Louis’ relative proximity to the Field of Dreams.
Heavens confirmed that construction continues on the new 8,000-seat ballpark on the site.
In addition to the game itself, local tourism officials were planning a four-day celebration that initially was poised to include a country music concert, celebrity question-and-answer session and historical baseball exhibits.
Karla Thompson, executive director of Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce, said last week that those plans had been put on hold and “probably won’t happen.”
Heavens and Dyersville City Administrator Mick Michel confirmed July 1 that local officials continue to work with MLB as decisions are made surrounding the game.
“The City of Dyersville supports any decision made by the MLB on whether they decide to hold the game or not and with what teams,” Michel said.
If the game is held as scheduled, local restaurants, hotels and other businesses could see major boosts — if fans are in the stands.
Terry Drees, general manager of Comfort Inn in Dyersville, said July 1 that although some Yankees fans might cancel their reservations, he is confident that other eager attendees could “fill the void.”
“We’re still going to be busy,” he said. “It’s just we’ll have different people taking (the rooms).”
Drees acknowledged that, even if fans are allowed to attend the game, COVID-19 still could play a big role in who attends.
“Definitely COVID is going to play a factor in who does and doesn’t feel comfortable traveling that weekend,” he said. “It might be beneficial that it is the Cardinals because they are just a car ride away. I think we’re seeing more people that are deciding to take road trips instead of flying.”