Tonight, for the first time in history, a Major League Baseball game will be played amongst the cornfields of Iowa. Fittingly, the man calling balls and strikes is a native of Iowa.

34-year-old Patrick Hoberg, a native of Urbandale, will be the home plate umpire in tonight’s Field of Dreams game between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.

But it almost didn’t happen. According to the Des Moines Register, Hoberg was originally supposed to be in San Diego early this week for the Padres’ series with the Marlins and today would have been a day off.

But Major League Baseball adjusted his schedule to get him behind the plate for tonight’s historic game. After last night’s game in Kansas City, he drove to Des Moines and this morning he’ll journey to Dyersville to prepare for the game.

The graduate of Grand View University in Des Moines made his Major League Debut in 2014 and was promoted to one of the 76 full-time umpires in 2017. Even though he’s an Iowa native, Hoberg has never been to the "Field of Dreams" movie site before.

For the 2018 regular season, he was found to be a Top 10 performing home plate umpire in terms of accuracy in calling balls and strikes. His error rate was 7.93%. (based on a study conducted at Boston University where 372,442 pitches were analyzed)

Plus, he has some experience in big games, he umpired last fall’s National League Championship Series and 2020 NL Wild Card Series between the Marlins and the Cubs.

He’s also no stranger to Yankees manager Aaron Boone. After the Yanks skipper argued a balk call by Hoberg on Monday, Boone was promptly ejected from the game in Kansas City.

His first ejection of the season occurred at Wrigley Field on July 24th.


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