Terence Mann: "This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come."|
After the release of the film, everyone went back to their normal lives. The cast and crew returned to Hollywood, and the Lansings and Ameskamps went back to tending their farms... until the first of many visitors arrived on May 5, 1989, to view the hallowed movie site. And just like the film predicted, more came. The field has now attracted over 750,000 tourists since the film's release.
Don Lansing decided to keep the ball field running after the filmmakers left. He re-planted the grass, waterproofed the bleachers, and tended to the infield.
But Al Ameskamp made what he calls "the biggest boo-boo of my life" and went back to his farming business. He plowed over left and center field, and replanted his corn! Al can laugh about it today, but in 1990, the tourists visiting the site were outraged! How dare he plant corn back on the Field of Dreams! So he dutifully removed all the corn and planted grass the next year -- along with a souvenir shop . . . Which was fine, except the Lansings, tired of movie fans wandering into their house like it was a film set, had also set up a shop on their side of the land, in right field.
Today the field is still stretched across the two different farms, with each running a souvenir shop on their own side of the field. The Lansing family controls the infield, right field, and the film's house, called the Field of Dreams Movie Site, while the Ameskamp family controls left and center field, and all the corn behind it (called Left and Center Field of Dreams). Al and Rita retired a few years ago to an estate a few miles away, and now lease the land to an investment company. "It grew beyond a 'mom and pop' operation," explains Al.
Kirby Puckett emerges from the corn.
So while baseball had first joined these two neighbors together, it had now spawned two rival, competitive businesses. Here are the competing sites on each side of the field (click on each image):
Neither side acknowledges the other in ads or publicity, and the two competing businesses do not speak to each other.
If you ask who is at fault for this feud, the Lansings will tell you that the Left & Center side is over-intent on commercializing the site with corporate events, hotels and new ball fields. The Left & Center side will tell you that the reasons for the feud are more personal.
All that is really known now is the two sides don't like each other.
It's the Yankees vs. the Mets -- an Iowa "subway series:" Two rival franchises in the same town, battling for the same tourist dollar and city support. But the competition here has degenerated into property lines, legal threats, and character attacks. In fact it's beyond any ballgame comparisons. It's the civil war! Right fielder versus left fielder, neighbor against neighbor, love versus commerce, and integrity versus greed.
Hall of Famer Bob Gibson at the field.
Both businesses look pretty entrenched in their positions. While the homepages for both stores list every other tourist site in Iowa, neither will mention the opposing shop just a few hundred feet away. And the divide between the two rival souvenir stores is such that you need to drive out of the field on one side, take a different road and park on the other side of the land just to visit the opposing store!
It was going to take outside intervention to help us reunite the neighbors.
CHAPTER THREE: We devise strategies to help baseball bring the two rival tourist shops together. (Along with some really twisted schemes.)
MAIN PAGE: "If you build it, the other guy won't leave." How baseball didn't bring two people together.