COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) – Polly Renckens still has a hard time believing it: Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson are coming to play at Doubleday Field – home to the annual Baseball Hall of Fame game.

“We have not had a concert of this dimension in Cooperstown. Ever,” Renckens said Tuesday. “It’s unique for a small town.”

Nelson and The Hot Club of Cowtown will join Dylan on a concert tour, taking them to nearly two dozen minor league baseball parks across the United States. The Bob Dylan Show begins Aug. 6 with a four-hour concert just a block from the Baseball Hall of Fame and will end in September in Dyersville, Iowa, location for the baseball movie “Field of Dreams.”

“What we aim to do with this tour is hit the ball out of the park, touch all the bases and get home safely,” Dylan said in a statement.

Renckens, who heads the local chamber of commerce, said public reaction to the event has been overwhelming.

“We see a lot of tourism and special events, but this has generated more excitement than anything in a long time,” she said.

Village trustees agreed unanimously Monday night to allow organizers to begin selling tickets. Around 12,000 will go on sale Saturday.

“Two Hall of Famers in the music world who want to play here? We’ll try it,” said Mayor Carol Waller Tuesday, after signing off on the contract for the event.

The tour was the brainchild of Marvin Goldklang, a limited partner of the New York Yankees, comedian Bill Murray, longtime baseball executive and promoter Michael Veeck, and Tom Whaley, vice president of the Goldklang Group.

“This was a group effort. That’s what makes it special,” Veeck said. “It’s my field of dreams. It’s hard to imagine that James Earl Jones (who starred in the movie) won’t show up.”

Veeck is co-owner of seven minor-league teams and counts Dylan as a boyhood hero. He began trying to convince Dylan to do the tour three years ago after visiting him backstage after a concert.

“His mom at the time lived in St. Paul (Minn.), and I said, ‘You ought to come out and sing the anthem, watch a ballgame and maybe do a show,”‘ Veeck said. “Lo and behold, the following season he did a show, and then another in Sioux Falls. I think he saw what a different venue it was. It has an intimacy, a familiarity.”

Dylan only agreed to do a tour if it started at Doubleday Field. When Veeck called Jeff Idelson, public relations director of the Hall of Fame, to tell him the news, he was greeted with a snicker.

Dylan is no stranger to baseball. In 1975, he and Jacques Levy co-wrote “Catfish,” a song about Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, who starred for the Yankees and Oakland As. The song is on Dylan’s Bootleg Series, released in 1991.


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