Surprisingly, that “Field of Dreams” baseball game they played the other week garnered the largest television viewing audience for a regular season game since 2005.

America needed a new entertainment loophole – and that night it got it – thanks to a healthy cornfield near Dyersville, Iowa. {/ span} Based on the 1989 Oscar nominated film that was part of fantasy, nostalgia (and I’ll add) hokum, the actual game produced its own drama. The 7,832 people in attendance and the millions watching at home were treated to a home run that landed in the high corn just beyond the fence in the right center field.

It was a fantastic ending to a game that had been more remarkable because of where it was played, rather than how it was played.

But it’s not really about a ball game or the movie it is derived from. These are really all of those dream fields that we have all been able to have in our lives.

In the mid-2000s, I first wrote a column on my “Fields of Dreams”, (not so) curiously titled “Fields of Dreams Everywhere”.

I have always enjoyed the days I grew up in Uniontown. {/ span} All we needed was a ball that bounced or survived the crackle of a bat, and we would find a place to play (until those stupid street lights came on). In the East End of town, we had a particularly run down Field of Dreams up there on Searight Avenue. It was also used as a baseball and softball field in the summers and a football field in the fall.

The games started as soon as we were able to change our school clothes. Latecomers were included on their arrival. Fights were frequent, but never serious. The rules were optional. The playing surfaces were often dangerous. Bruised knees and bruised egos were to be expected. No one could avoid them, it seemed. Gains or losses were never carried over to the next day. Nothing stopped the games in the late afternoon, except dinner.

In the evening it was those shabby street lights that served as the universal end bells for any game we played.

Meanwhile, in another part of the East End of town, we had another “Field of Dreams” called the East End Playground.

In a long feature article I wrote in 1997, I boldly called it “the playground of champions”. That’s because this particular space, adjacent to the East End Elementary School, had been the breeding ground for all Americans and high school and college champions over the years.

Getting to the courts at the East End Playground was a summer draw. I’m sure in the other half-dozen playgrounds around Uniontown there were similar wannabes.

The Fields of Dreams were everywhere.

The games ran freely from every morning and afternoon until every evening.

In Bailey Park, there were a few “Fields,” where the Midgets and Teener Leaguers fought until they reached championship games every summer.

Virtually none of these places could function without well-meaning adults who ensured our safety and security. Even on Searight Avenue, there were adults within earshot of our endless hours of play.

The town of Uniontown had a small army of directors who were deployed to the many playgrounds. They diligently distributed games and activities every day. I look back and marvel at their patience. Nancy Jenkins was our playground manager in the East End. I wonder how many times she had to come home and threaten to leave town after dealing with us rowdy kids in the East End.

To her credit, I never saw her show the slightest impatience with anyone.

There was the head of the city’s recreation department, “Bus” Albright, who got it all set. He had been a star basketball player at Uniontown High School in the mid-1920s. Since then he had rubbed shoulders with children and athletics, being a gym teacher at Lafayette Junior High School.

I’m writing this because we weren’t high-priced baseball players, or didn’t have Hollywood scripts. {/ span} In Uniontown in the 1950s and 1960s, we all lived in Fields of Dreams!

Edward A. Owens is a multiple Emmy award winner, a former reporter and presenter for Entertainment Tonight, and a 40-year TV and newspaper veteran. Email him at

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