Batting Around: What other venues should MLB use for a Field of Dreams-style game?

Throughout the season, the experts at CBS Sports MLB will bring you a weekly Batting Around panel discussion breaking down just about everything. Breaking news, a historical question, thoughts on the future of baseball, all sorts of things. Last week we looked at the candidates who needed to do more by the trade deadline. This week, we are going to discuss baseball in unusual places.

Where would you like to see MLB play a Field of Dreams-style game in the future?

Matt Snyder: In fact, I reviewed five options for this last year. I would love to see MLB do all five because they have the bandwidth to do such specials. If I had to pick one, though, coming closest to the theme here, it’s a Sandlot game. From the idea a year ago:

Could we possibly build an 8,000-seat stadium that somehow resembles the diamond of the movie’s sand pitch, with the fence in left field mirroring that of the movie? Sure! Let’s even throw in a tree house overlooking a lot with a big dog hanging out in it.

Yeah, let’s do it please, MLB.

Mike Axisa: I love love when MLB takes the game to different places. The Field of Dreams game was a blast last year. The Fort Bragg game a few years ago was fun. The London Series was epic. I have so many answers to this question: Curacao, Italy, South Korea, Taiwan, I could go on and on. Did you know that the Italian Baseball League has existed since 1948? Let’s send big leaguers there. MLB games in New Orleans or Cape Cod would also be fun. Bringing major league baseball venues where people don’t have access is a laudable undertaking, and it doesn’t hurt that it breaks up the monotony of the long season.

To pick just one, I’ll go to Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey. It’s one of the few Negro Leagues parks still standing, and it’s currently undergoing a $94 million renovation (expected to be completed this month). There is a lot of history there. Larry Doby, who grew up in Paterson and crossed the American League color barrier with Cleveland in 1947, played at Hinchliffe Stadium with the Newark Eagles. The ballpark was also home to the New York Black Yankees. Goaltenders versus Yankees in Negro Leagues uniforms at Hinchliffe Stadium on July 5 (the anniversary of Doby’s MLB debut) is a no-brainer. Do it, MLB.

Dayn Perry: Let’s have a baseball version of the old Chicago College All-Star Game, in which the NFL champions would face off against a college football all-star team in an exhibition. In this version, the defending World Series champions would face a team of college all-stars. Obviously, the MLB entrant would be a big favorite, but baseball has a lot of built-in parity, so maybe we’d see an upset once in a while. It would also be a good way to promote the underrated college game.

RJ Anderson: It depends on the settings. If we are talking about a setting that has played a starring role in a movie, then Durham Bulls Athletic Park is right there. If we’re talking more of a “this would be a dream setting” situation, then you have more varied options. In theory, MLB can afford to build a sandfield just about anywhere.

Neal T. Doss