The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds will play the second major league game at the Field of Dreams site near Dyersville on Thursday night, but tonight, it’s two Iowa teams.
It will be the first-ever Minor League Baseball game on the famed field between the Quad Cities River Bandits and the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Matt Mullenbach one of the Kernels’ pitchers, tells KCRG-TV that even though he’s from Urbandale and grew up in Iowa, it’ll be his first time to visit the movie site.
Mullenbach says, “Throughout my baseball career, one of the first questions I get is, ‘Have you been to the Field of Dreams,’ so being able to play on it is going to be pretty cool.” Mullenbach was reassigned to the Kernels in early July, which is the closest he’s played to home in a while. Before this, he was in Brooklyn, New York, so it’ll be a big change to see the green cornfield — in the outfield.
“It’s probably going to feel a little surreal, just watching the movie a bunch of times,” he says, “so when I get there, it will probably feel like a little bit of a dream.” Dyersville has a significant spot in the Mullenbach family’s history, as that’s where his parents met and where his dad, Dan, proposed to his mom.
Dan Mullenbach says Dyersville is a special place. “I played baseball at Buena Vista University in the late ’80s, graduated, and had a buddy that was from he Dyersville area and took a job in Chicago,” Matt’s father says. “My future wife was teaching in Iowa, so Dyersville is where we’d meet because I’d come back from Chicago on the weekends to play baseball.”
After more than 30 years of marriage, Dan and Barb Mullenbach will visit the Field of Dreams for the first time to watch their son play baseball. Just for tonight, both teams have changed their names to honor throwbacks in their respective cities — so it’ll actually be the Davenport Blue Sox versus the Cedar Rapids Bunnies. The team that’s now the Kernels was the Bunnies in the 1900s into the 1930s. The story goes that someone mis-heard Cedar Rapids as “See the rabbits,” which eventually morphed into the Bunnies mascot.