Peterson: Field of Dreams game was more than unbelievable. It was perfect.

Randy Peterson
Des Moines Register

DYERSVILLE, Ia. — Let’s get this out of the way right now.

Thursday night’s Field of Dreams game was a showcase, an extravaganza, a happening. You can't even dream this stuff up, how magical this night was. The center of the sports universe, at least for one day, was smack dab in the middle of a cornfield way up here in northeast Iowa. 

Put plainly, baseball's grand showing at the "Field of Dreams" movie site was our state’s greatest sports event ever.

Yes, I said it. 

Ever.

Don't @ me.

We've had wonderful college sports moments in this state. We've had wonderful lower-level professional sports in this state. 

But this was a big-league event, historic for Iowa. It all seemed unbelievable. But it was more than that. 

It was perfect.

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Thousands of people came from many states to watch the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox play in an honest-to-goodness baseball game that actually meant something. 

This was an Iowa first, a regular season MLB baseball game here.

It had to have a special finish, and it did. To end it, White Sox superstar Tim Anderson hammered a home run over the right-field fence into an ink-black country sky, the eighth and final cornfield shot of this wonderfully entertaining game.

Chicago 9, New York 8. 

And a walk-off homer to boot.

Really, does it get any better than that?

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Millions more watched all over the world. Whether you were in rural Dyersville or plugged in on the FOX broadcast, you were left inspired, stupefied, slack-jawed by the majesty of it all. You didn't have to look hard on social media for people to say they were brought to tears by the surreal scenes unfolding here. 

They played on a ball diamond that a few years ago was a cornfield, adjacent to the "Field of Dreams" movie site.

Kids played catch on the "Field of Dreams" field featured in the 1989 film hours before this game started.

Have a catch? Absolutely.

Players walked out from a cornfield, just like in the movie. The star of the film, Kevin Costner, gave a speech to the crowd of about 8,000 before the game. He did so after walking through the outfield, almost as if narrating an opening for what would have been a wonderful sequel — right down to the sudden and iconic finish.

Kevin Costner, who starred in the 1989 film "The Field of Dreams," speaks Thursday evening before the Field of Dreams game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox in rural Dyersville, Iowa.

"We've come to see the first place White Sox play the mighty Yankees in a field that was once corn," Costner said over the mic. "It's perfect. We've kept our promise. Major League Baseball has kept its promise. The dream is still alive. There's probably just one question to answer: 'Is this heaven?'

"Yes, it is."

'The dream is still alive':Field of Dreams actor Kevin Costner emerges from cornfield before Yankees-White Sox game

And after, there was a terrific baseball game that started under a salmon-colored late summer sky. We saw eight home runs. We saw pitchers throwing 100 miles per hour. We saw perhaps the finest team in baseball — the White Sox — and the finest franchise in sports — the Yankees. 

In the modern era, there's nothing like it. Not here. Not anywhere. 

This wasn't just a baseball game. It was a time capsule from a different era. 

"That’s probably the greatest setting for a baseball game that I’ve ever been a part of," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the tough loss. 

He later added, "Kevin Costner standing out there in short center field — that’s probably a moment I’ll remember the rest of my life."

Related:Walk-off loss in Field of Dreams game 'ruined it a little bit' as Yankees must regroup

So will millions who watched. 

And you have this afterward from Miguel Cairo, the White Sox skipper who was subbing for Tony LaRussa and had played in the minors for the Iowa Cubs in the 1990s: "It was a dream come true."

Whether Iowa can pull it off again next summer — and yes, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said this game is coming back — we’ll see. A high bar has been set, even if one of the teams coming next year just happens to be the beloved Chicago Cubs. But that's a worry for another day. 

More:Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds wants Field of Dreams game to become an annual event

As the movie taught us 32 years ago, live in the moment. Appreciate the moment. 

From the festivities before the game to the action that took place on this pristine field, this was more than a sporting event. It was a celebration. 

Who won? Who lost? 

Did anyone watching in the stands or at home care all that much? 

It happened.

And it was perfection.

Costner was right.

It really was heaven.

Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writing for the Des Moines Register for parts of six decades. Reach him at rpeterson@dmreg.com, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete.

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