Harold Reynolds saw how big of an opportunity it is for a minor league player to play in a big league stadium during his first professional season back in 1981.
Reynolds, who was with the Wausau Timbers, made the trek to Milwaukee County Stadium, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers, to play a Single-A game. When Reynolds walked onto the field, he recalls marveling at how big the scoreboard was, how spacious the park was and how manicured the field was.
“It’s still one of my biggest memories throughout my whole career that I was playing in a major league park for the first time,” Reynolds said in a phone interview with the Des Moines Register Tuesday.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels and Quad Cities River Bandits will get a chance to experience the same thing when they play a regular season Single-A game in a specially constructed big-league park near the movie site diamond from the 1989 movie on Aug. 9.
It’s the same park that the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees played in last season. And it’s the same park the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds will play in on Aug. 11 in the MLB’s second Field of Dreams game.
“I’m sure these guys will be talking about it for 30 years, that they got to play at the ‘Field of Dreams’ ballpark,” Reynolds said. “It’s just one of those cool moments that come along that you don’t get that opportunity very often.”
It’s a huge opportunity for the two Iowa minor league teams that have rosters full of young, inexperienced players who have yet to even taste the big-league life. The Kernels are an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The River Bandits are an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. For one night, they’ll get big-league treatment as they serve as the warmup for this year’s big-league game and take the field two days before the Cubs and Reds play.
The minor league game will have all the makings of a big-league game. It’ll be in a big-league park with a big crowd expected to be on hand a big television audience from MLB Network tuning in and handling the game. Reynolds, who played 12 years in the majors and was a three-time All-Star, will be the analyst. Greg Amsinger will handle the play-by-play duties. Jon Morosi will be the broadcast team’s reporter.
“We’re excited to see the guys that are going to be in A ball and see what it’s like,” Reynolds said. “We catch minor league games all the time and hang out. It’ll be huge.”
Especially for the players who get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like Reynolds did back in 1981.
Reynolds, who was trying to work his way up to the majors, didn’t have a huge television audience tuning into the game. But people were watching including future Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, who both played for the Brewers during the 1981 season that included a strike.
“It was really cool, man, like ‘Wow, these guys are watching us play a game,’” Reynolds said.
The MLB Network crew will stick around Dyersville that week. “Intentional Talk,” co-hosted by Stephen Nelson and Kevin Millar, along with “MLB Tonight” with Amsinger and Reynolds, will air live from Iowa on Aug. 10 and Aug. 11 leading up to the game. MLB Pipeline’s Sam Dykstra will preview the Kernels and River Bandits game on MLB Central on Aug. 9.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Reynolds said.
Tommy Birch, the Register’s sports enterprise and features reporter, has been working at the newspaper since 2008. He’s the 2018 and 2020 Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-284-8468. Follow him on Twitter @TommyBirch.