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DYERSVILLE, Iowa – When a pickup truck-driving vandal damaged the “Field of Dreams” movie site four Januarys ago, the front offices and grounds crews from the nearby Quad Cities River Bandits and Cedar Rapids Kernels were among the visiting angels helping restore Iowa’s slice of baseball heaven. Now, in a plot twist straight out of Hollywood, the good karma from that volunteer repair work has been indirectly repaid in spades. Those two eastern Iowa clubs were chosen last month to become the first Minor League Baseball teams to participate in Major League Baseball’s celebration of the beloved film. The Bandits have been cast as the home team opposite their long-time regional rivals for an game Tuesday, Aug. 9, in the stadium erected alongside the movie set by Major League Baseball for last summer’s inaugural “Field of Dreams” game in Dyersville. For this summer’s sequel, the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds are playing Thursday, Aug. 11, in the nationally televised Major League Baseball encore. So, the Bandits and Kernels are the opening act to what could become a three-day or week-long celebration of the sport and its signature motion picture. “All we know for sure right now is we are playing on a Tuesday and the (Major League) game is on a Thursday,” Bandits General Manager Joe Kubly said while mulling the many fan-friendly possibilities – from a “Field of Dreams”-inspired “ghost players” or old-timer’s game, or even appearances by all-time greats. “We don’t even know about tickets yet for fans. But whether it’s ticket information, or other festivities, or merchandise or the uniforms the teams will wear – whenever those details are released, it will only build even more excitement leading up to the game.” Cedar Rapids General Manager Scott Wilson credits River Bandits owner Dave Heller for the idea and for including the Kernels, who were already set to open a six-game series Aug. 9 at Davenport’s Modern Woodmen Park. Now, that series opener has been moved 90 minutes to the north to Dyersville and under the purview of Major League Baseball. “We are thrilled to be able to host a game at such an iconic location for baseball fans from Iowa and around the world,” Mr. Heller said in a released statement. “This is an opportunity that we have hoped for since (Major League Baseball) announced plans to build a ballpark in Dyersville, and to see it come to fruition is really exciting for our organization, players, and fans.” Delaying Mr. Heller’s hopes last year was the COVID-19 pandemic casting the Major League game in doubt – especially after the Minor League season was canceled in 2020 and delayed a month for its 2021 season start. In addition, the Major League season also was abbreviated in 2020. “They were just trying to make sure they were playing last year’s Major League game – whether or not fans were even allowed,” Mr. Kubly said. “But we kept the conversation going. And it helped we had a great year – won Team of the Year honors, had a Gold Glove winner, and won a league championship – so our names were on the lips of everybody involved in baseball,” he added. “Now, here we are – something that started 18 months ago is going to actually happen.” Mr. Kubly said Bandits fans have been thrilled as well, with many more likely to land a ticket to the regional match-up game than the Cubs-Reds clash two days later. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our fans, players, coaches and staff,” he added. “It’s going to be a unique event, top to bottom, at a unique place and a unique setting.” Among the few details shared so far with the Minor League teams and the public, the clubs will wear throwback jerseys honoring their past -- same as last year when the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees played in the inaugural “Field of Dreams” game. The Cubs and Reds will wear throwback uniforms this year, too. The hosting Bandits will transform into the Davenport Blue Sox – a name used by the local franchise from 1913-1916, 1929-1933 and 1934-1937. The visiting Kernels will become the Cedar Rapids Bunnies – their name from 1904-1932. “We’re going to go from playing in the 90-plus year-old facility in Modern Woodmen Park to a stadium that’s two years old at this point now – but it looks like it’s 90-plus,” Mr. Kubly said. “There’s so much history here. Cedar Rapids is super excited that they’re playing as the Bunnies. Pro baseball has been in both of our communities for over 100 years and it’s fun to showcase that.” Mr. Kubly hopes another tradition carries over from the movie – as well as the inaugural game dedicated to the famed film. “Hopefully, they let our players and the Cedar Rapids players walk through the corn (stalks),” for the pre-game introductions, Mr. Kubly said, “because that’s something these guys are never going to forget.” Despite being a Thursday night affair, the 2021 game between the White Sox and Yankees attracted 5.9 million viewers to become the most-watched regular-season baseball game on the FOX TV network in 16 years. “It’s a good trade off,” Mr. Kubly said. “We lose a home game but gain something really memorable for our players, our fans, and for everybody associated with the Quad Cities River Bandits.” Added Mr. Wilson, “If this is entertaining enough and draws well enough, you never know where this might lead to. I’d certainly welcome being part of the festivities each year.”