I Watched ‘Field of Dreams’ For the Millionth Time, and I Have Some Thoughts and Questions

During the offseason, there’s not much for me to do except tweet about baseball, write about baseball, dream about baseball, miss baseball, and watch baseball movies. Oh, and I do a lot of yoga.

This weekend, I took a break from writing about baseball to watch Field Of Dreams, which is one of my all-time favorites. I’m partial to any movie with Fenway Park in it. But I’ve been watching this movie since I was a little girl, and when adult me actually focused on what I was seeing on-screen, I had some thoughts and questions.

Spoilers ahead, but honestly, the movie came out in 1989, so I’m not even sorry.

Ray should be a professional landscaper

The man designs a beautiful baseball field with no mention of having the expertise to do so. If the whole “monetizing magical places” gig doesn’t work out, Ray Kinsella should open a landscaping business. He could call it KinseLand or something.

Why is Ray’s brother-in-law such a tool? 

Look, I get that it’s Mark’s job to, you know, ruin peoples’ lives by taking their homes and businesses when they can’t make their payments. And clearly, it’s the line of business you get into if you enjoy watching people suffer. But Ray is his sister’s husband, and Mark seems all too excited at the prospect of taking their farm away from them. Not to mention, most farms are at least 100 acres, so Mark’s whole issue with the baseball diamond taking up too much space for the property to turn a profit is ridiculous.

Plus, he manhandles his niece and causes her to fall off the bleachers and almost die. The guy is clearly a sociopath.

The daughter is kind of scary

Speaking of Baby Kinsella, I find it more than a little disturbing that it’s their daughter who has the idea to sell tickets to people who come to the field. And even more disturbing, her parents are down with it.

So let me get this straight, Ray: a disembodied voice tells you to build a baseball field in your cornfield in middle-of-nowhere Iowa. You do it and THE Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the Black Sox show up, back from the dead, to play baseball on your field. Then, you take a supernatural road trip to and from Boston and go to a game at Fenway Park where the scoreboard sends you a message only you can see. It leads you to meet the old ghost of Moonlight Graham and the young ghost of Moonlight Graham, and the old version saves your daughter’s life, all further proving that you have some crazy mystical situation playing out. And then, to top it all off, you see your father, young again, on the field, and you realize that this whole thing was the universe’s way of giving you a chance to reconcile with him and have the most beautiful game of catch in the history of sports. The universe gives you a bucketload of magic, and after all of that, you’re going to turn your field into a tourist attraction and charge people to see it? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

What’s up with Shoeless Joe?

One of the overarching themes of the movie is ballplayers who missed their chance getting a second one at the field Ray Kinsella builds for them: the Black Sox, Moonlight Graham, even Ray’s dad. And Ray takes the time to tell his daughter that Shoeless Joe was never proven to have thrown the World Series games, the crime for which he was permanently banned from baseball. So it’s kind of a weird moment when Joe tells Ray that they didn’t let Ty Cobb join the game at his field because he’s a “son of a bitch.” Yes, Cobb was known for being a nasty guy, but it’s pretty hypocritical to keep him out of a game after what you went through, Joe.

Also, just saying Shoeless Joe was a lefty batter, and Ray Liotta plays him batting right.

Is Terrence Mann dead now? 

When we last see Darth Vader, he’s walking into the field with the players, having been invited to join them wherever they go when the game is over. Is that the movie’s way of saying Mufasa chooses to die and go to baseball heaven? Because the players tell Ray that he can’t join them, implying that he needs to stay with the living.

Do you cry at the end, or are you a monster?

Despite all my nitpicking, this is one of the sweetest movies of all time. It brings the history and the nostalgia, and Ray’s last line, “hey dad, you wanna have a catch?” makes me want to fly across the country just to hug my dad. It’s a beautiful albeit confusing film if you look too closely, but perfect for the long days without baseball.


Photo: eBay

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3 Comments

    1. Jen Rainwater

      Little Big League!!!! .. can’t think of the character’s name and it’s killing me but it’s the one who dates the kid-manager/owner’s mom! I love that movie! It is so much better than Rookie of the Year. I mean, Billy is good at managing because he is intelligent and understands the game. The other kid, Henry, right? – he falls out of a tree and breaks his arm and can suddenly pitch? They came out about the same year – early 90’s and I always liked Little Big League more! LOL!

  1. Jen Rainwater

    Love your takeaways! I always wondered about “Darth Vader” but I never thought about the Ty Cobb instance … but he was supposedly a racist a** wasn’t he? But that is kinda a product of the times and not exactly his fault so I’m going to totally agree that they shoulda let him play but I also like the theme of second chances. Maybe they could have left that part of the conversation out? Anyway, fun post! Great takeaways! I too have seen it a million and ten times but hadn’t thought about a few of the things your noted! Very cool. Thanks!

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