If You Build It, Will They Buy It?

They built it and boy-oh-boy did they come.

The Boston Globe reports that an estimated 1 million visitors have journeyed to the “Field of Dreams’’ movie site since the Academy Award-nominated film was released in 1989. But the owners of the farm, Don and Becky Lansing, say they have gone the distance, and now the fabled site is for sale.

It’s like being a baseball player; when your time is up, it’s up,’’ says Don Lansing, 68.

Lansing received $50,000 for the location shooting. After the shoot, he thought he would leave the field intact for a few days so family and friends could play. But then it started – first as a trickle. On May 5, 1989, a man from New York drove cross-country to the site and wept at home plate. He insisted on giving Lansing a New York Giants baseball cap. And the visitors increased each year, leveling off at 65,000 people annually.

Cars and buses with squished bugs on the windshield and license plates from all around the country kick up dust on the gravel roads as they arrive from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, April through November.

Becky Lansing forecasts record crowds this summer, 21 years after the movie was released. “I think people have accelerated their trip after hearing it was for sale,’’ she says.

The Lansings have never charged admission or for parking. There is no commercial signage, no fences to keep people out. The field is as picture perfect as the day Shoeless Joe Jackson wandered out of the cornfield and wondered if he were in heaven. Fathers and sons play catch, old-timers wander in and out of the corn giggling like schoolboys, and middle-aged men run the bases, their pot bellies jiggling.

But with a $5.4 million asking price, no one has stepped to the plate to ease the Lansing’s pain.

Photo by The Boston Globe.

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