CALS alum and team steps up to help make Field of Dreams come to life

Headshot of Casey Scheidel wearing a black polo shirt
Casey Scheidel

By Whitney Baxter

When a call came asking for help preparing the Major League Baseball field at the Field of Dreams, Casey Scheidel jumped at the opportunity.

That call came from BrightView Sports Turf, the general contractor who was looking for local companies to take part in the field’s construction. Scheidel (’04 horticulture), president of Iowa Sports Turf Management, and his team, which also includes fellow College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni Eric Van Ginkel ('11 horticulture) and Mitch Countryman (’17 horticulture), spent three days at the field in May 2020 finishing grading and laying the sod.

“When an opportunity comes up like that, you kind of throw conventional wisdom out the window,” Scheidel said of his quick decision to assist.

Originally scheduled to take place in summer 2020, the first-ever MLB game played in the state of Iowa and at the Field of Dreams site was rescheduled to Aug. 12 of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scheidel was able to attend the game in person with seven of his clients. He said there was a lot of playing “who’s who” among the famous people sitting around them, including Nick Swisher, former major league baseball player, and Maddie Poppe, Iowa native and season 16 winner of American Idol.

View from the stands of the Major League Baseball field at the Field of Dreams. Several baseball players and umpires are standing in various positions on the field.
Scheidel and his team at Iowa Sports Turf Management played a role in preparing the field for the Major League Baseball game at the Field of Dreams.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience,” Scheidel said of attending the game. “It’s among the top of my list of the greatest things of all time.”

As an alum of Iowa State University’s horticulture department, Scheidel said the sports turf classes he took while in college, as well as his internship with the Colorado Rockies, set him up with the knowledge and experience to take on projects of this scale.

“I never knew I was getting into athletic field construction,” Scheidel said. “I thought I would be doing field maintenance.”

Reflecting on it all, Scheidel said he and his team are glad they said “yes” to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I’m super proud of the work we were able to do and I’m super proud of what it means to Iowa,” Scheidel said.