Reds' Field of Dreams game draws largest TV audience of season, drop from '21 game

·5 min read

DYERSVILLE, Iowa – Thursday’s Field of Dreams game between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs was the most-watched game of the regular season, but it wasn’t as much of a hit out of the park as last year.

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FOX’s broadcast averaged 3.13 million viewers, according to a press release from Fox Sports, which topped all broadcasts on any network. Viewership peaked with 3.46 million viewers an hour into the game, which the Reds lost, 4-2.

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Aristides Aquino (44) stands in right field during a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at the MLB Field of Dreams stadium in Dyersville, Iowa.
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Aristides Aquino (44) stands in right field during a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at the MLB Field of Dreams stadium in Dyersville, Iowa.

Still, it was nowhere close to last year’s Field of Dreams game, which drew 5.9 million viewers to watch the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox. Last year’s game, which ended with a walk-off homer from White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, was the most-watched regular season game since 1998.

The 47% drop in viewership wasn’t unexpected. This year’s game featured two rebuilding teams and it was a repeat trip to specially constructed stadium next to the 1989 film site.

Cincinnati was the top local market for Thursday’s game, drawing a 12.2 rating and a 30 share, which means 30% of people watching TV in Cincinnati between 7-10:45 p.m. tuned into the game, according to Nielsen Media Research and Adobe Analytics.

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Albert Almora Jr. (3) looks out into the cornfields in left field doing the second inning of a baseball gam against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at the MLB Field of Dreams stadium in Dyersville, Iowa.
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Albert Almora Jr. (3) looks out into the cornfields in left field doing the second inning of a baseball gam against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at the MLB Field of Dreams stadium in Dyersville, Iowa.

The other top local markets, according to Fox Sports press release, were Chicago (5.3 rating/15 share), Indianapolis (4.1/11), Kansas City (3.8/10) and St. Louis (3.2/9).

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There will not be a Field of Dreams game in 2023, Hall of Famer Frank Thomas confirmed, because of construction building a youth baseball and softball complex. Thomas is the chief operating officer of the field’s ownership group. MLB is considering one-off games at other historic sites in future seasons, places like Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana, which is where much of “A League of Their Own” was filmed.

Chuckie Robinson has unique first day on Cincinnati Reds roster

All Major Leaguers remember the moment they were called up to the big leagues, but very few can say their first day on the roster came at a place as unique as the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa.

Cincinnati Reds catcher Chuckie Robinson arrives to the clubhouse with the rest of the team, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at the MLB Field of Dreams stadium in Dyersville, Iowa.
Cincinnati Reds catcher Chuckie Robinson arrives to the clubhouse with the rest of the team, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at the MLB Field of Dreams stadium in Dyersville, Iowa.

The Reds called up catcher Chuckie Robinson as their 27th man for Thursday’s game, adding him to the 40-man roster. He didn’t make his MLB debut as the Reds used their other two catchers during the game and was automatically optioned to Triple-A Louisville following the game.

“Oh, man, you can’t ask for anything cooler,” said Robinson, who was on the Reds’ taxi squad for their nine-game road trip before Thursday’s game. “This is the last year they’re doing this game? This is how special the game is and what it means to baseball. I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

Robinson, 27, has defied odds on his path to the big leagues. He was a 21st-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros. The Reds selected him in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft in Dec. 2020 where he was the 50th player taken.

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Reds Manager David Bell called Robinson into his office and told him he was being called up as the 27th player after the Reds completed their series against the New York Mets on Wednesday.

“You work your whole life to hear those words,” Robinson said. “He said those words and I kind of went blank for a second. I'm like, ‘is he being serious?’ Then he said it again and I’m like, ‘wow, man, thank you. I’m just so grateful for this opportunity.’”

Cincinnati Reds catcher Chuckie Robinson, Friday, March 18, 2022, at the baseball team's spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz.
Cincinnati Reds catcher Chuckie Robinson, Friday, March 18, 2022, at the baseball team's spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz.

Robinson, a Danville, Illinois native, is a third-generation professional catcher. His grandfather, Chuckie, spent a season in the White Sox’s farm system in the early 1960s, and his dad, Chuck, was a Cubs’ minor leaguer in 1991.

“It’s emotional,” Robinson said. “That’s my support system, man. Ever since I was a little kid, they always fed me. They never doubted me, you know what I’m saying. Ever since I was a little kid, they’d say, ‘you’re a big leaguer. You’re a big leaguer.’ To hear those words (Wednesday), it means the world. It hasn’t fully hit me yet because everything has been moving so fast right now, but when I have some time to decompress and really soak it in, I know it’s going to be an emotional time.”

Robinson has yet to play in an MLB game, but it shouldn’t be long. The Reds are pleased with Robinson’s progress this year. He was hitting .263 with five homers, nine doubles and 23 RBI in 53 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

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“Having the ability to slow the game down and be a student of the game and make necessary adjustments on the fly, that’s really all I can attribute it to,” Robinson said. “There were some little things in my swing going into spring that they wanted me to clean up, and I did. They like what they see, so hopefully I can just keep that going. You know how baseball is. There is always going to be adjustments. You’re always going to need room for improvement, but I feel like I’m trending in the right way and I just want to keep it going.”

Reds injury updates: Art Warren continues rehab assignment

Right-handed reliever Art Warren made his third appearance on his rehab assignment Thursday, his second outing at High-A Dayton.

Warren pitched around a two-out fielding error for a clean inning, striking out one batter on a slider in the dirt. His fastball sat around 91-93 mph, according to Dayton’s radar gun, which is just below his average fastball velocity (94 mph) this season.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Reds-Cubs Field of Dreams game draws largest TV audience of the season