Kevin Costner’s Absence Depletes Field of Dreams Game Viewership

by Patrick Norton

The Field of Dreams is nothing without Ray Kinsella. Kevin Costner’s heartfelt and sympathetic performance brings the 1989 film to life. Major League Baseball’s exploitation of the emotionality that Dyersville, Iowa brings provided a resounding success at last year’s inaugural Field of Dreams Game.

While the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees brought the house down with an unbelievable nine inning affair, the theatrics drove up the at-home audience numbers. As Costner emerged from the cornfield and onto the diamond, fans in attendance gave a standing ovation.

His presence in Dyersville adjacent to the film set turned the event into a true spectacle. However, his expected absence from this season’s Field of Dreams Game turned away a chunk of the viewership. The 2021 audience brought the largest regular-season audience in 16 seasons with 5.9 million tuning in on Fox and Fox Deportes.

But 2022’s Costner-less matchup between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds told a different story. This season’s edition peaked at 3.5 million viewers about an hour into the game. Without the allure of Costner, many didn’t pay attention to the pregame festivities. The full program turned in a total of 3.1 million viewers.

While baseball legends Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr. emerged from the corn for a father-son game of catch, it wasn’t Ray and John Kinsella.

Some attributed the smaller numbers to the lacking impact of the matchup. While the Cubs and Reds occupy the bottom spots in the NL Central, the game’s uniqueness should’ve prevented a near-50% drop from the previous season.

However, the 3.1 million viewership tally still ranks as the highest-rated regular-season game behind the inaugural edition since the first weekend of baseball following the 2020 COVID-19 hiatus.

Kevin Costner Pays Tribute to Shoeless Joe Jackson’s Ray Liotta

Liotta portrayed Shoeless Joe to near-perfection in Field of Dreams. His tragic death in May became a focal point for celebration in Dyersville on Thursday night. The acting legend died in his sleep at the age of 67. While his co-star Costner didn’t have a physical presence at the stadium, he did lend his voice for a touching tribute.

Costner says, “though he may be gone, that’s the beauty of a game like baseball, and a movie like Field of Dreams. He gets to live forever in our hearts whenever he steps out of that cornfield.”