Doug was right. MLB nailed it for the Field of Dreams game this season. I didn’t think they could do it especially after the debacle of the All-Star Game.

Kevin Costner was there in person, a nice touch. The corn was there. The retro uniforms. Baseball did it right and the Chicago White Sox took care of the rest with their 9th inning rally and ultimate win.

I enjoyed the movie but found faults with it. C’mon, Joe Jackson was a left-handed hitter. Ray Liotta could have adapted for that. And doing “The Wave” was a waste of time.

I had a good feeling the Cincinnati Reds would be selected to be one of the teams in the Field of Dreams game for the 2022 season. It makes sense and MLB was showing some – at last.

The Reds not only have a rich history but as all of you know, were the first professional baseball team in America. I wasn’t crazy about the match up with the Chicago Cubs. I get it. The Cubs are a big draw, have a huge (and sometimes misguided) fan base and field their Triple-A team in Des Moines. Some of my best friends are Cubs fans. Others are intolerable.

But there are two things I don’t like about next year’s game.

First, the ticket prices are obscene.

Second, and I hate to quibble (no, I don’t), but there are some other match ups against the Reds I would have rather seen than against the Cubs.

Reds vs White Sox

This seems to be a natural fit, given the Joe Jackson connection to the movie. The two teams played in the controversial 1919 World Series that resulted in the first Reds World Series title. The retro uniforms would be a good fit, both teams are on the upside and look to be very competitive in 2022 and the venerable and aging Tony LaRussa should be there as the manager of the White Sox. And wouldn’t it be cool to have seen Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk reunited at this game? Ozzie Guillen and Dave Concepcion? Frank Thomas and Tony Perez?

Reds vs Angels

Lots of benefits to this. Mike Trout, the best player in baseball, would be center stage and in front of a national audience. The same for Shohei Ohtani, the latest savior of baseball. Since the Angels franchise started at the MLB level in 1961, the Reds could wear the classic vested uniforms from that year when Fred Hutchinson guided them to the National League pennant, Frank Robinson was the MVP, Vada Pinson roamed centerfield and the pitching staff was anchored by Jim O’Toole, Bob Purkey and Joey Jay. It would have been Ragamuffin Day for Reds fans. And the Reds could have officially announced they will be retiring Pinson’s #28 in 2023.

Now, back to the Cubs. They are obviously in a rebuild stage and their big names are all gone. But the Cubs are the Cubs and they are media darlings.

From an historical point of view, the Cubs and Reds have never battled head-to-head in a heated pennant race (or division race) since the modern era of baseball began in 1956.

From 1956 to 1968, the Cubs were moribund, second-division teams except for the last two seasons. When the National League split into two divisions in 1969, the Cubs and Reds were separated. Based on the last fifty years, you could make an argument that the Pirates, Dodgers, Cardinals or even the Astros were more rivals to the Reds than the Cubs.

So what sidebar events could MLB do with the Cubs and the Reds? The possibilities are limitless.

You could get Johnny Bench and Billy Williams together, who were 1-2 in the MVP voting for the 1972 season in the National League.

Pete Rose tied Ty Cobb with 4,191 hits at Wrigley Field in the 1985 season when he singled off Cubs pitcher Reggie Patterson. And in an attempt to break it against Chicago reliever Lee Smith later in the game– delayed over two hours by rain–  he struck out in the twilight of Wrigley Field before they installed lights. Bring back Big Lee and The Hit King to Iowa for the game.

Pair up Jim Maloney and Ken Holtzman.  Maloney no-hit the Cubs in 1965 during a Herculean effort in a 10-inning 1-0 win in which he threw 187 pitches and struck out 12 batters and walked 10. This wasn’t exactly a combined effort of five pitchers off a 13-man pitching staff. Reds shortstop Leo Cardenas hit the game winning homer for the Reds only run in the tenth inning. Holtzman no-hit the Reds in 1971 at Riverfront Stadium.

Bring in former Reds skipper Lou Piniella and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, who the Reds skipper intentionally walked five times in an extra inning loss to the Cubs. (When I met Andre in Knoxville, Illinois, I joked about that with him and he laughed. He still remembers it.)

Tom Browning? Give him a seat above the corn in left field. You die-hard Reds fans remember his jaunt during a game at Wrigley Field.

And if you want to honor someone special . . . . introduce Dave Parker and have him come out of the cornfield to a thunderous ovation on nationwide TV.

Parker had his best years with the Pirates. But he’s from Cincinnati and played for the Reds. And there was a period of time when he was considered the best player in baseball.

How cool would that be? Give Dave Parker the spotlight.

It can be a very special night if MLB can somehow do it again.

24 Responses

  1. Gonzo Reds

    The sequel was clear to be a NL matchup and include at least one big market team to face America’s first team. Cubs certainly fit the bill but surprised it wasn’t the Dodgers or Mets.

    • Jim Walker

      Dodgers were *the* Reds rival in the 1970s. That’s for sure. The second of Johnny Vander Meer’s back to back no hitters was versus the (Brooklyn) Dodgers in 1938 at the first night game in Ebbets Field, the Dodgers home park. There’s a couple of tie ins just of the top.

      • JayTheRed

        I was thinking the same thing. I hated the Dodgers back then and it was a very intense rivalry

        Plus like others said the cubs have been wipe of big name talent.

  2. Bred

    I predict beyond Cub’s and Red’s fans a ratings bust. Next year’s irritation of either team will not be a matchup that generates national interest, furthermore, the shine of a game in a corn field will naturally be reduced because it’s a repeat gimmick. IMO MLB is setting it self up for a ratings flop, and the Reds will not gain anything but extra travel days. Maybe the players will think it’s interesting and worth it.

    • Indy Red Man

      I don’t think so. Of course it won’t have the ratings of this years game, but the visuals are just too cool! Broadcast it and atleast some will come!

  3. Jeff Gramza

    While Dave Parker’s best years were with the Pirates, he didn’t just play for the Reds, he had a few GREAT years with them. Still think he should’ve won the NL MVP in ‘85. Played for Pete on four straight second place teams —- close but no cigar. But again, Parker was a GREAT Red.

  4. Indy Red Man

    Indiana has plenty of corn so when do we get a game? The only thing Indiana cornfields are known for is the final location for a couple of mobsters in the movie Casino. That really happened! I went to IU with their nephew Pat Spilatro.

    • Jim Walker

      So when I lived in Indy back in the mid 1970’s there were persistent rumors that a couple of new car dealerships were money laundering fronts for the “boys” from Chicago and also they controlled a couple of restaurant franchise locations in town used for the same purpose. You ever hear or consider these credible?

      • Mary E Boxell

        Jim Walker are you from Huntington Indiana? I heard that about one of the car dealerships there

  5. Votto4life

    Let’s face it, It’s a gimmick based on a movie that really wasn’t all that good.

    Yes, if you are going to have it then the Reds and White Sox makes the most sense,

    MLB didn’t want to miss a chance to squeeze every possible nickel out of this thing, so they had to include a big market team. They just couldn’t help themselves.

    This game is like opening day and inter league play. It’s targeted to the casual baseball fans. The ones who show up on opening day just so they can say they were there. While the true fans are the ones who show up on game two when it’s a night game and 22 degrees.

    I prefer the game be played at GABP. Give out free ears of corns if you want to.

    • Bred

      Hahaha Great idea to give out ears of corn! I’m in Texas, and I can’t remember the last time I had good corn on the cob!

    • Indy Red Man

      C’mon? Don’t be a ” Get off my lawn” guy))). 11k in gabp 2 nights ago so what difference does it make?

      • Votto4life

        I own a Condo so I don’t really have a yard.

        If they want to play a game based on a bad baseball movie, why not “Bad News Bears in Breaking Training”?

        They could reconstruct the Astrodome and dig up William Devine and Bob Watson to chant “Let them play!”

  6. Mark Moore

    I’d try to go, but the ticket prices plus the logistics of getting to the middle of nowhere prohibit that. I watched some of this year’s game and I’m sure to watch the whole thing next year given this match up. We’ll see how many times MLB can parlay this into a positive ratings event. Heaven knows the All-Star game is waning (and become more irrelevant as I see it).

  7. Rednat

    Good stuff. It is funny that although the reds are the oldest team we dont have a true rival. At least not at the level of giants/dodgers, cardinals/cubs, yankees/redsox. I think the reason is because we never really ‘fit’ in the nl west or nl central. We were always the odd man out. I think a southern division with atlanta miami, nationals and st. Louis would fit us best

    • TR

      If they were in the same league, the Reds rival would be the Cleveland Guardians. The Pirates historic rival are the Phillies, but now they’re in different divisions. I’d say, if the Reds have a rival, it’s the Pirates since they’re in the same division, not far apart and similar sized cities and metro areas. Plus there’s some animosity carryover from the Bengals/Steelers.

    • Jim Walker

      In my lifetime the Reds big rivals have been the Dodgers #1 in the 1970’s (both in NL West) but to a lesser degree also the Pirates and Phillies because they were at the top of the NL East for that same period and would be playoff opponents. Later on, I recall the Astros for a period then of course from the Reds side, trying to be noticed by the Cardinals for the last 15 years or so.

      Speaking of which, I wonder how it is going down in St. Louis that the Reds got the nod over the Cardinals for next year vs the Cubs, their big traditional rival?

  8. LGR

    No Barrero again, btw. Just letting everyone know.

    • west larry

      Love the top of the lineup, hate the bottom of it.

    • RedAlert

      Barrero out AGAIN , Suarez back in

      Pure insanity ….. can’t stand David Bell as manager of this team

      Clueless as the day is long ….

  9. west larry

    I don’t understand how Barrero is not playing. Bell must be as smart as must of us bloggers-is he being pressured to play Moose/Suarez and leave the defensive quality shortstop on the bench? If so, free Bell!

    • Roger Garrett

      Smarter then me for sure.Bob tells him he must play Moose/Suarez or else so theyplay

  10. Ahimsa

    Hoping the Reds wear the 1911 “blue” uniforms.