You know the Field of Dreams Game was good when people still tuned in to watch this year’s moribund versions of the Reds and Cubs. So many viewed the contest that it was reportedly the most-watched MLB game of the season. That comes from Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register, who added that it provided FOX’s best Thursday night ratings of the calendar year.
I'm told that last night's Field of Dreams game was the most-watched regular season baseball game on any network this season and FOX's best Thursday night performance for the 2022 calendar year.
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) August 12, 2022
I bag on MLB a lot, and for good reason, but they sure have gotten this event right. Last year’s game between the Yankees and White Sox was an incredible back-and-forth slugfest capped by a Tim Anderson walk-off and this recent affair matched it blow-for-blow from an emotional standpoint. Even if no dingers were popped into the corn, the matchup of two of baseball’s oldest organizations made everyone forget about records.
It’s too bad they won’t have it next year as Frank Thomas and his business partners convert the grounds into a sprawling youth baseball facility, but I’m hoping MLB finds another small venue to stage something similar. Maybe the game will return to Dyersville in the future, though the site had already been highly commercialized even before the advent of this new project and I’m skeptical of the end result.
Let’s just hope the league realizes that the novelty is what makes this whole thing special, kind of like how interleague play used to be. As we head into a more balanced schedule that sees every team playing one another moving forward, my fear is that MLB will overdo it with specialty games as well. Or maybe they’ll keep getting it right, which would be a refreshing change.