Column: What does the Field of Dreams game have to do with the new Chicago Cubs sportsbook?  4 observations on Thursday's game.

The Field of Dreams game is just around the corner, with the Chicago Cubs preparing to play the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday in Dyersville, Iowa.

Here are four observations on Major League Baseball’s attempt to make it an annual classic:

What does that have to do with Thursday’s game?

Connect the dots.

The nationally televised game capitalizes on the 1989 film “Field of Dreams,” adapted from the WP Kinsella novel “Shoeless Joe,” which revolved around a farmer’s mystical encounter with the ghost of late star Shoeless Joe Jackson. of the Chicago White Sox.

Jackson was ejected from the game with seven Sox teammates for taking player money to throw the 1919 World Series to the Reds. In the book and movie, Jackson gains some personal redemption by playing with his fellow ghosts on a baseball field in Iowa cut from a cornfield. His character, played by Ray Liotta, has the movie’s money line: “Is this heaven?”

The soon-to-be-completed DraftKings sports betting in Wrigley it’s another lucrative venture for the Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs. When the sportsbook opens in 2023, the Cubs will begin to benefit from players coming to their own dream field at Clark and Addison streets to legally bet on baseball and other sports.

It’s another example of MLB’s growing association with gaming and its partnership with DraftKings, baseball’s official sports betting partner.

When watching a game on MLB Network, a viewer not only gets the scores on the track at the bottom of the screen, but also the updated money lines on each game. Any other commercial during a game appears to be an advertisement for a gambling site. They’re almost as ubiquitous as the beer commercials that dominated baseball broadcasts for the previous six decades.

So if Shoeless Joe were alive today, what would he say?

The guess here is that Jackson would not only bet on the Field of Dreams game, but would likely promote it in Fox Sports commercials. (“Say yes, Joe. Cubs and Reds, live from Iowa, here on Fox.”)

Unfortunately, Jackson did not live long enough to see gambling become an acceptable vice in America.

The NFL does that with some of its Sunday night games involving two teams going nowhere fast.

The MLB schedule was obviously made well in advance. In fact, Cubs manager David Ross accidentally leaked news of his team’s participation in the 2022 Field of Dreams game after last year. opening game between the White Sox and the New York Yankees.

Why MLB chose the Cubs, who had just sold their stars a few weeks before the announcement, and the Reds, who were gearing up for a full-scale rebuild, is a question for the New York geniuses running the game.

Fox is now stuck with two of the worst teams in the National League, with few stars and nothing at stake. That hasn’t stopped the network from hyping it like crazy, using the highlights of last year’s classic finish, Tim Anderson’s walk-off home run, as a reason to tune in.

Kevin Costner walking through the cornfield was the perfect opening for last year’s game, but would it have the same dramatic effect a second time?

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Everything seemed to be lining up nicely in 2021, but a repeat of the Sox-Yankees classic is a long shot at best.

According to the Des Moines Register, tickets to this year’s game were $375, plus $38 in fees, which includes a parking pass. MLB held a lottery for Iowans giving them the opportunity to purchase tickets.

As a once-a-year event, it’s probably worth just saying you were there. But watching it on TV seems like a better bet.

The Hollywood star wasn’t surprised that the game Field of Dreams got a second helping after last year’s success.

“Never mess with a winning streak,” he said afterwards. “It looks like every team is going to want to touch this.”

Certainly, many teams would want to appear in a nationally televised event. But I’m still waiting MLB take my advice from last year and creates a game event that revolves around Costner’s other baseball classic, “Bull Durham.” It was arguably the best film and would create just as much interest.

Only Costner could make it happen.

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