The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Every Sport Should Have a Field of Dreams Game

The Field of Dreams game was a huge hit for MLB last night. The game involving real baseball teams playing a real regular season game based on a baseball movie that came out 32 years ago oddly drummed up emotions in me that I didn’t know I still had.

Other than Kevin Costner dressing up for a Hamptons party (more John Dutton, KC!), it was a perfect night for baseball that clearly resonated with sports fans.

Of course this means we are going to have more of this shoved down our throat in the coming years but for now it was just original perfection by Rob Manfred and Company.

So how could other sports capture this same kind of pitch perfect nostalgia/uniqueness? How could other leagues break up the monotony of their season and connect with fans in a completely original way?

I’m glad you asked, here are ways the NFL and NBA could both copy the success of MLB’s Field of Dreams game.

Friday Night Lights Game in the NFL

  • The NFL should pick one high school stadium once a year to play a primetime game on Friday night. Let the school bands and cheerleaders serenade us from the sideline. Let’s have the stadium’s tomato can PA system introduce the lineups. Let’s have the sight of NFL teams playing on a high school painted football field with high school sized grandstands, selling hot cocoa and nachos at the concession stand to support the band. Forget about playing games in Germany, England or Mexico and let’s play one game a year in Anytown, USA.

Hoosiers Classic in the NBA

  • Similar to my NFL idea, I’d love to see the NBA play in a high school gymnasium once a year. NBA Superstars are the least approachable in all of sports, more mythical figures than athletes. Could you imagine Giannis showing up in some midwestern gym? Or Luka Doncic getting a chance to head to a depressed city with a chance to energize everyone? Or Lebron going back to Akron to play a game in his old high school? It could be the most powerful community connection the NBA has had in many years.

Baseball proved you can have fun, nostalgia and competition at the same time. Hopefully the NBA and NFL follow suit.

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