Harry Caray hologram appears in Cubs’ ‘Field of Dreams’ game against Reds

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Fox Sports’ Thursday telecast of MLB’s second annual “Field of Dreams” game had several charming aspects, but not all viewers were thrilled when a virtual version of Harry Caray led a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh stretch round.

The virtual appearance of Caray, the beloved former Chicago Cubs announcer who died in 1998, in a press box above the Iowa field was not a complete surprise. A rumor emerged the day before Fox Sports could render it as a hologram, and the network teased a kind of tribute before and during the game.

Sure enough, after the Cincinnati Reds secured three quick takedowns from the Cubs in the top of the seventh, a brief commercial break was followed by the sight of Caray’s appearance. Presumably, the network used his real voice from one of the signature song’s renditions during his 16-year call-up at home team games at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

On Thursday, the setting was in Dyersville, Iowa, at a temporary 8,000-seat stadium built last year to host the first “Field of Dreams” game. It sits next to the cornfield and diamond where the 1989 film was filmed and where visitors can still tour the grounds, including the farmhouse familiar to fans of the film.

While the 2021 game featured the New York Yankees against the Chicago White Sox, whose infamous 1919 team figured prominently in the film’s plot, the Cubs’ presence this year created a natural connection. with Carey.

Since the Reds were technically the home team, Fox Sports had what it described as a “re-created animation” of Caray, leaving it to the fans in attendance to proclaim their roots, roots, roots. After the song ended, the virtual announcer said to the crowd, “Boy, you never sang better in your life!”

“It’s about paying homage to what makes baseball iconic,” Fox Sports executive producer Brad Zager said in a statement. “We hope this moment allows parents to tell their children what it was like to watch Harry Caray, or what it was like to listen to Harry Caray lead the seventh inning chant at Wrigley Field, so that the next generation can understand and appreciate all that it meant.

“Everything about the Field of Dreams is about taking our favorite aspects of baseball history and bringing them to life in modern times,” Zager added, “whether it’s from everyone’s iconic baseball movie the times or the game of baseball itself.”

A spokesperson for Fox Sports confirmed to The Washington Post that Caray’s depiction was not a hologram, as was widely hinted at online Thursday, but something “closer to augmented reality.”

Fox Sports executive Michael Davies said the network used “cutting-edge technology from a production partner that enables photorealistic animated recreations” to present “a tribute as faithful to Harry Caray and his legacy as the technology allows it”.

Not all of the reactions online were negative, but many wondered why Fox Sports bothered to do this. An informal Twitter Poll conducted by New York Post sports media reporter Andrew Marchand to find out if people liked it, the majority of respondents chose neither “Yes” nor “No”, but “That was really weird”.

Elsewhere on the platform, a popular term among reviews shared was “sinister.”

Fox Sports was on firmer footing earlier in its telecast when it only used the voice of recently deceased broadcasting legend Vin Scully. As viewers saw scenes from Kevin Costner’s film interspersed with great moments in baseball history, the longtime Los Angeles Dodgers announcer was heard reciting the “People Will Come” speech delivered at the originally by James Earl Jones.

The movie was also well-talked about before the game, when Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr., the only known father and son to have played together in an MLB game, emerged for the cornfield beyond the outfield for a wrestling match. The Reds and Cubs players also took to the field, joined by former team stars including: Chicago’s Billy Williams, Andre Dawson, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg and Lee Smith; and Cincinnati’s Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin.

When the game started, the Cubs took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, and they went on to win 4-2.

One has to assume that Caray would have been delighted. Her quasi-hologram version certainly seemed happy enough, even if her appearance wasn’t universally welcomed.

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