Major funding for a field of dreams

Marketplace Staff Apr 8, 2009
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Major funding for a field of dreams

Marketplace Staff Apr 8, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: In Zion, Ill., the hope is on a minor league baseball team with major-league backing. A contest to pick the team’s name begins today. Joel Rose has that story.


Joel Rose: He played a washed-up minor league catcher in “Bull Durham,” and a farmer who carved a baseball diamond out of his cornfield in “Field of Dreams.”

Ghost: Hey, is this heaven?

Kevin Costner: No — it’s Iowa.

Now, actor Kevin Costner owns a stake in a professional baseball team — not in Iowa, but in Zion, Ill., about 40 miles north of Chicago. Construction is scheduled to start next month on a $15 million stadium for the as yet un-named team.

Whatever it’s called, Zion librarian Nancy Hilyard hopes it can draw tourists and spur economic development in a town where the unemployment rate tops 12 percent.

Nancy Hilyard: It’s obviously not the high stakes, showy aspects that you have with major league baseball. But it allows for local promotions, it allows for everybody to get into the game.

Zion is still struggling to recover from the loss of a nuclear power plant that closed a decade ago. City officials are hoping that minor league baseball is the answer to their prayers.

I’m Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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