(Driftless Multimedia photos by Becky Walz)
(Driftless Multimedia photos by Becky Walz)
“If you build it, they will come.” And they did.
The iconic line from the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” came true last week as Kevin Costner entered the playing field, followed by Major League Baseball teams Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees emerging from the cornfield and onto the playing field to 8,000 cheering fans.

NE Iowa guidance
Behind the scenes helping with the field crew were several northeast Iowa men, including Isaiah Lienau.
For Lienau it’s a profession as an account manager for MLB’s field consultant, Brightview Landscapes.
“I was surprised to find that I was assigned the project,” said the 2007 South Winn graduate. “Before it was officially announced in 2019, there were rumors going around about playing a game at the Field of Dreams and I eagerly volunteered for the project when the news was official.”
After his high school graduation, Lienau attended Hawkeye Community College and graduated with a degree in landscape and turf management, initially intending to pursue a career in golf course maintenance. After graduating college, the Ossian native stayed close to home, working at Silver Springs Golf Course until he was offered a position with an independent professional baseball team in New Jersey. First joining the staff as the first assistant, Lienau moved to director of groundskeeping by midseason for the Camden River Sharks.
From there, his career continued to blossom, with positions at another independent team, and eventually the New York Mets as an assistant grounds crewmember. He ultimately made the jump to the field construction line as he took a position with Brightview, working on the field for the 2016 game in Cuba, the 2017 Little League Classic in Williamsport, Penn., games played in the Tokyo Dome in 2019 and the two-game series in London between the Yankees and Red Sox.
As the director of the grounds for the Las Vegas Aviators (a AAA team of the Oakland Athletics), Lienau had originally been slated to manage the Field of Dreams game from start to finish. While he was at the site of the new Field of Dreams field, from day one when digging in field drainage, and throughout the process of the grading and overall set up of the facilities, he was pulled from the account when COVID shut down the country.
That didn’t stop him from being there and working to make the field immaculate for the players and fans before, during and after the game.
“Seeing the whole construction process from breaking ground to game day is a great feeling,” he noted. “It’s been a long process and I’m happy to see the game take place.”
The final sense of accomplishment came when the crew, including Lienau, put the bases in the ground, then stood on the first base sideline watching the teams enter from the cornfield in rightfield, along with the thousands of fans shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday. 

Volunteering for duty
As game day neared, additional workers were needed to help work the field and be present if rain fell during the game to get the tarp in place to preserve the field of play. When Lienau put the call out three locals jumped at the chance including Jon Hackman, Dan Leibold and Dan Holien.
 Joining the crew, the trio spent time earlier in the week perfecting the technique and speed in which to unroll and set the tarp in under two minutes, along with other duties as needed, such as replacing bases every two innings, sweeping the infield and more.

About the field
The design of the field is reminiscent of Comisky Park in Chicago, the former stadium of the White Sox. It is 330 feet to the left field fence, 335 to right and 400 to center. A clear fence showcases the corn in the outfield with the bullpen just beyond the center field fence and a 16-foot removable panel in right field allowed the players to enter the playing field through the corn, similar to the film.