The ‘Field of Dreams’ game was a great start. Now MLB needs to Hit Bull, Win Steak.

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Two months after there was indeed enough magic floating around in the night to make baseball’s dream come true, people are still asking Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred about the “Field of Dreams” game amid the corn in Dyersville, Iowa.

At a Sports Business Journal summit this week in New York, Manfred said there would be more games like that one, including “going to locales where they don’t ordinarily play Major League Baseball.”


The aging Buffalo stadium that served as the New York Knights’ home field in “The Natural” is long gone, but there’s another baseball movie steeped in nostalgia that would be perfect for a major-league resurrection, sitting at the corner of Morris and Corporation streets among the repurposed old warehouses just north of downtown Durham.

Three years ago would have been the perfect time to celebrate “Bull Durham” like this, on its 30th anniversary, but it’s never too late. If Manfred is serious, it’s a no-brainer.

Durham Athletic Park is in fine shape, recently renovated, and now without a primary tenant with N.C. Central dropping its baseball program. The streets surrounding the DAP may look a little plusher than they did 30-some years ago when the movie was filmed, but other than the famous bull-board moving across downtown to Durham Bulls Athletic Park, most of the stadium’s signature details remain intact -- or easily reconstructed.

Scott Strickland, the Durham Bulls assistant general manager who oversees the DAP now, said in the wake of the “Field of Dreams” game that the team has not heard from MLB regarding a potential game in Durham, but the Bulls have played two “Back to the DAP” games, in 2010 and 2011 after its renovation, and Strickland said they’re absolutely open to the idea.

Unlike Iowa, when a stadium had to be constructed out of whole cloth next to the road-trip destination original set — MLB did the same thing at Fort Bragg in 2016 — the DAP is there, ready to roll. Accommodations would need to be made, certainly, but not unreasonably so.

In an era when you can play an NHL game in Dodger Stadium or on the shores of Lake Tahoe, when baseball can drop a workable MLB stadium into a cornfield, when television networks can produce a sports broadcast with only the announcers and the camera people actually present — and sometimes not even them — there’s nothing about the logistics at the DAP that should be a deal-breaker.

Even if Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon have had enough of “Bull Durham” reunions over the years and take a pass on another one, the DAP stands on its own as one of the great totems of minor-league baseball, the preserved nostalgia of an era long past and, ironically, a symbol of what MLB has weakened with its corporate takeover and restructuring of the minor leagues.

It would tap into all the same emotions as the “Field of Dreams” game, a roaring success on every front.

The White Sox’ walk-off win over the Yankees in Iowa was one of the most anticipated and entertaining games of the summer, and MLB successfully capitalized on one of baseball’s most beloved movies to give the sport a jolt of unexpected energy during the dog days of August.

Manfred wasted no time saying they would do it again in 2022. But MLB is missing a trick if it doesn’t take the idea another step further and resurrect the Greatest Show on Dirt, even if just for one night.

Hit Bull. Win Steak.

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