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(Denise Stillman)

If you build it, they will come – that was the infamous adage from the 1989 film Field of Dreams.  But, the eastern Iowa baseball field used as the set for the feel-good Kevin Costner classic will need some rebuilding after vandals caused extensive damage that was discovered early Tuesday morning.

For over 25 years, the field and accompanying farm, which dates back to 1906, have attracted thousands of baseball and movie fanatics – upwards of 70,000 each year – who flock there in the hopes of either catching a glimpse of Moonlight Graham hitting a sacrifice fly, reciting James Earl Jones’ iconic speech or just having have a catch with their old man, making it one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations.

Denise Stillman, owner of the Field of Dreams site, told the Telegraph Herald that her maintenance team discovered that someone had driven onto the field and, in the process, left four inch deep imprints which destroyed the grass and also damaged a portion of the field’s sprinkler and irrigation system.  Field manager Al Steffen also noted that it’s not the first time the field has been driven on, though with the warm burst of weather and the significant rainfall recently, the ground was loosened up more than usual for this time of year, to the point that any vehicle could potentially cause significant damage.

Connor Morgan, a journalist for CBS’ Iowa affiliate in Iowa tweeted out this video:

While the crew has yet to fully assess how much the damage will cost to repair, it comes at the worst time of the year, with the location just months away from reopening for the season – which runs from April 1 through late November.  It will open per usual, according to Stillman, who believes most of the repairs will come during the summer, though it’ll likely take the entire season for the field to be looking good as new.  To help with the cost of repairs, which could be upwards of $15,000, Stillman launched a GoFundMe page in the hopes that others could help this free attraction and, if successful, it could lead to security cameras being installed in the future.  As of Wednesday evening, the fundraiser was at just over $4,500 and had become a spot for people to share their memories and experiences at one of baseball’s most iconic fields.  The authorities have been unable to identify the vehicle responsible for the damages.

With pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training in less than a month and the start of Major League Baseball right around the corner, there’s no reason why the Field of Dreams site shouldn’t also be on your bucket list.  And let’s just hope they catch the people responsible and that nothing similar ever happens at this sports cathedral again!