Dennis Rima knows baseball. They call him “Coach” for good reason. He knows corn, too. Not as a farmer, but as a ghost player at Dyersville’s Field of Dreams.
The Ghost Players made just one appearance in 2009 and plan on reuniting once at the Field in July, 2010. Prior to that, Dennis sent a gracious reply to questions about his connections to the 1989 movie classic.
Q: Were you in the movie?
A: I was not in the movie. It was being filmed while I was a high school baseball coach in the summer.
Q: As a former high school baseball coach who won a state championship, how would you judge the athletic talent of stars Kevin Costner and Ray Liotta?
A: Costner and Liotta have very good baseball skills. Costner loves playing baseball. While filming the movie, when he wasn’t on camera he spent a lot of time playing catch. They both seem very athletic.
Q: You witnessed the Upper Deck-sponsored Old-Timers games in the 1990s at the Field. How did the former big leaguers look?
A: The old timer games were great. Many of these guys could still hit and field the ball. Many of them are not in playing shape and have put on pounds since their playing days. But guys like Lou Brock, Reggie Jackson, George Brett, etc. could still smack the ball. They were fun to watch and even more enjoyable to be around. The majority of these guys were just down-to-earth super nice!
Q: What message does the movie offer?
A: The message I get from the Field of Dreams is that you need to spend time with your kids!!! Don’t let time go by and you haven’t spent quality time with them. Also, dreams are meant to come true if you believe in them. Finally, baseball is America’s game!
Q: Will you and the Ghost Players come out of the corn for more action in 2010?
A: The US traveling military baseball team is coming to Dyersville in July to play the Ghost Players. We did this last year and it was very popular. That is all I am aware of right now. Joe Scherrman keeps up a website at www.ghostplayer.us so go there for more information. The documentary on the Ghost Players has won many awards at some film festivals.
I’ve seen both the book and DVD created by the Ghost Players. Fans of the movie will savor these stories.