In the time since the filming of "Field of Dreams," the Dyersville farm has operated as a tourist site, and those who cherish baseball's simplest qualities have journeyed off Interstate 80 to tap into the country's core and enjoy a simple setting that suits the soul of the sport.
Manfred knows a bit about this, growing up in the small city of Rome, N.Y., where he rode his bike to Little League games -- and even knocked out his front teeth when he went over the handlebars one day.
"I grew up in a really, really simple place," Manfred once said. "It's a small town. Everybody knows everybody, and it's not like there's a ton to do. I learned pretty early in life the value of family and relationships with friends and the fun you make by having those sorts of relationships with people."
Manfred won't be riding his bike to Dyersville, but he will be the first Commissioner to visit a site beloved by baseball fans and movie buffs alike.
The tour will begin in July and eventually visit dozens of cities across North America.
Manfred and Smoltz, who was inducted into the Hall last year, will participate in a special town hall Q&A with fans in attendance, moderated by MLB Network host Greg Amsinger.
The tour -- presented by the Hall of Fame, the IMAX Corporation and MLB Advanced Media, in partnership with Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and Creative Artists Agency -- fits in well with a theme of the Manfred commissionership, which is to expand baseball's reach in innovative ways. The tour was first announced in 2014, in celebration of the Hall of Fame's 75th anniversary.
While Cooperstown remains a pilgrimage all baseball fans should partake in, this promises to be a dynamic way to enjoy elements of that experience in Major League cities -- and, eventually, Minor League cities -- across the country. An IMAX film highlighting the past, present and future of baseball, featuring never-before-seen historical footage, is expected to be the centerpiece of the mobile Hall, and the game will also be brought to life with interactive exhibits.