Students, Faculty Gain Unique Experience at Field of Dreams Game
When the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees made history playing Major League Baseball’s first regular-season game in Iowa, several Loras College students, faculty, and alumni were on-hand working to make the experience memorable.
“No amount of words or pictures could completely capture what it was like to be there,” Abby Jones (‘23) said. “One must experience it for themselves, and I recommend whoever has the opportunity to in the future does so.”
Jones served as a VIP attendant at the game. Initially, she was assigned to monitor the VIP access but shifted to serving as a runner for the White Sox VIP section. That included getting food and beverages for celebrities, including Alex Rodriguez.
While at the park, Jones was able to gain at least some of the fan experience as she walked through the cornfield and was able to watch much of the game.
“While I was working, I was able to watch a majority of the game and take it in just like everyone else there. The atmosphere as a whole could not have been better. Everyone was filled with excitement and could not have been nicer. This included regular or non-VIP fans, VIPS, as well as all the other staff. All of Dyersville was completely electrified that night,” she said.
Matt Jeter (‘23) was outside the stadium on parking duty.
“I initially reached out because I love baseball and wanted to work a special game like the Field of Dreams game,” he explained. “I also wanted to put working a special event like this one on my resume. Between Wednesday and Thursday, I learned how to direct cars into their spots and direct them into the correct lots.”
Even though he wasn’t able to directly watch the game, the overall experience was still memorable.
“I was outside of the stadium but could feel the energy from the crowd whenever the Yankees or Sox scored runs. It was especially electric when Tim Anderson hit the walk-off home run, and I was glad that there was an exciting ending for this type of game,” he said.
One person who had several personal interactions with the players and other celebrities was Brad Coen (‘22). Working as an intern at the Field of Dreams all summer, Coen served as a golf cart driver for the Chicago White Sox personnel, including the ownership and players. Before the game, he served as the transportation around the site. Afterward, he even drove the night’s hero, Tim Anderson, out to his car.
“It was just amazing to me how close I was to the players, especially being a White Sox fan, but I also had to do a good job and be professional about it,” he said. It was a very cool experience nonetheless.”
Coen had previously worked with BaAM Productions, the production company that ran the event for MLB, which played a role in his interest in working at the event. Being a White Sox fan looking to work for a major league team also played a part.
“I wanted to give a good impression to the Chicago White Sox organization. I also couldn’t sleep the night before the game because I was so excited for the next day to come, and then I woke up super early the next morning and had to wait until it was time to go in for the day,” he said.
Matt Garrett, Ph.D., professor of sport management, was there alongside his students to share the experience. Working as an usher in the left field stands, he had multiple reasons for being in Dyersville.
“It is well established I am a huge baseball fan, and so personally this event meant a lot to me, Garrett said. “Professionally, BaAM Productions is a leader in supplying volunteers for major sporting events, and I wanted to do my best to get both my name and the Loras College sport management name on their radar.”
For Garrett, he was able to find moments to soak in the experience and appreciate the opportunity offered to him and his students.
“I love baseball, I cherish my moments with my kids in the sport, and I love the state of Iowa, so it was special. It brought me such joy to see my students getting this opportunity and seeing the smiles on their faces, knowing they were part of something special,” he said.