Tune in Thursday to the Field of Dreams game to see baseball honor the late Ray Liotta, who was one of the stars of the movie more than three decades ago.
Folks probably still expect to see Liotta stride out of the cornfields. He was the first ghost anyone saw in Field of Dreams, the 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner. The film wouldn’t be the hit that it was if not for Liotta’s Shoeless Joe Jackson. He served as the spiritual conduit to connect Costner’s Ray Kinsella with a younger version of Ray’s dad.
The Field of Dreams game, when Major League Baseball returns to the lush Iowa farmland, is set for Thursday night in Dyersville. The Chicago Cubs will host the Cincinnati Reds at a baseball stadium that’s adjacent to the Field of Dreams movie set.
Fox is broadcasting the game. And sometime during the pre-game show, Costner will pay tribute to Liotta, who died in his sleep, May 26. He was only 67. At the time of his death, Liotta was filming the movie Dangerous Waters in the Dominican Republic.
Earlier this week, Costner posted a photo tribute to Liotta on his Twitter page.
“In honor of Major League Baseball’s Field of Dreams this week, I wanted to share some memories from the movie but more importantly remember the amazing Ray Liotta. ‘Shoeless Joe Jackson’ will be out there will all of us for a great night of baseball in the fields of Iowa.”
Expect to hear lots of the iconic lines from the movie. After all, Liotta said “if you build it, he will come,” in reference to Ray’s dad, John.
Liotta also had this cool scene with Costner, who asked where the old baseball players came from.
“Where did WE come from? You wouldn’t believe how many guys wanted to play here. We had to beat ’em off with a stick,” Shoeless Joe told Ray. He then added: “Ty Cobb wanted to play, but none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive, so we told him to stick it!”
Costner was coming off the baseball classic, Bull Durham, when he began filming Field of Dreams. Meanwhile, Liotta was coming off of Something Wild and was a year removed from a career-defining role in Goodfellas.
Back in 2019, when the movie officially turned 30, MLB officials announced plans to host a Field of Dreams game in Iowa during the regular season. The first game unfolded a year ago between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. Costner was on hand. So were 8,000 fans, who were lucky enough to have the hottest ticket in baseball. The players, like the ghost stars before them, stepped out of the cornfields in pre-game introductions. Both teams wore throw-back uniforms.
And boy, was the game a doozy, especially if you preferred the long ball. Both teams combined for eight homeruns. Appropriately, a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth decided the game. Yes, it was a Hollywood kind of ending, but it was far from scripted. Down by a run, White Sox star Tim Anderson swatted a pitch over the right-field fence. He knew as soon as he hit it that it would clear the wall and roll through the cornfield.
Fans loved both the sentiment and the game action. More than 6 million people tuned in for at least part of the game, making it the most viewed regular-season MLB contest in 16 years.