Got $5.4 million burning a hole in your pocket? Love nostalgic baseball movies with daddy issues? Boy, have the Lansings of Dyersville, Iowa have a deal for you. As reported by the Associated Press, the Lansings, the owners of the iconic farmhouse, cornfield and baseball diamond from 1989’s pastoral man-weepie “Field of Dreams” have put the property up for sale for the bargain basement price of $5.4 million smackers. Becky Lansing told the AP they’re selling because she and her husband are ready to retire and “would just love to become spectators. We want to sit in the bleachers.”
The movie (or “Shoeless Joe,” the novel it was based on by W.P. Kinsella) wasn’t written about the field; it was built by the production back in 1989 on two adjacent farms, the Lansings’ and the Ameskamps’. So whatever magic exists in that field is of the movie, rather than historical, variety. But who doesn’t get choked up when Ray and his father play catch? After production ended, both families maintained their portions of the field (clearly hoping that if they maintained it, we could come) and operated — and sometimes fought over — competitive souvenir shops. Life, unlike the movies, is not always so magical.
Since then, the field has hosted tourists, charity softball games, and a particularly awesome sounding Rolling Roadshow screening of “Field of Dreams” along with a concert by Kevin Costner and his band. The Lansings bought out the Ameskamps in 2007, and have operated the entire field as a tourist attraction since. In the AP story, the Lansings’ real estate consultant Ken Sanders says that early interest has come from buyers considering exploiting the land’s value as a tourist attraction by putting up hotels or (God forbid) a water park. But he also mentions the possibility of turning the field into a minor league ballpark, which sounds like a good idea to me.
In the meantime, the field’s official site claims to offer free admission, but it also warns that you “cannot reserve, or rent out the Field for any organized activities, individuals, or events.” Well, that’s kind of a buzzkill. But, hey, I bet for $5.4 million bucks you could change the policy.
[Photo: Ray Liotta and Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams,” Universal Pictures, 1989]