Though it is only a little over a year old, the Field of Dreams ballpark – built by Major League Baseball ahead of the inaugural game in 2021 – oozes with nostalgia.
Any Major League team would fit in well here, but the Cubs and Reds, two of baseball’s oldest franchises, looked especially comfortable in the old-timey surroundings.
In the second game at the site, the Cubs beat the Reds, 4-2. The day provided everything fans and players were expecting:
Both Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Cubs outfielder Ian Happ each spent a half-inning wearing an earpiece and microphone for a talkback with television announcers Joe Davis and John Smoltz.
Votto’s inning lasted long enough for him to get particularly chatty with the booth.
“I’m out here at first base in the middle of a Major League game, and I’ve got nothing to do right now,” Votto said. “So I’m going to tell a little story.”
Votto jumped into the way-back machine and recalled a game in 2009 -- his third year in the big leagues, and Smoltz’s last. Smoltz was pitching for St. Louis.
“And so I’m a young player, and I’m angry, and competitive,” Votto said. “And John’s pitching. And he did not like the way we rubbed up the ball. He was screaming at me, and the umpire, and our bench.
“I'm in the frame of mind, like, you got an option -- you can either be intimidated by this superstar, all-time great, Hall of Fame kind of guy, or you can match it.
Smoltz, from the booth, laughed and confirmed the story in its entirety. “I was worried about hitting somebody because I couldn't feel the baseball,” Smoltz said