MLB Network Shines Light on Field of Dreams, Former BVU Pitcher

Dan Mullenbach pitched, proposed to Barb Feldman in Dyersville the year the movie debuted

A pair of Buena Vista University alumni were thrust into the spotlight this week as Major League Baseball hosted its second regular-season game at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville.

Dan and Barb (Feldman) Mullenbach, 1988 BVU graduates, were at the Field of Dreams to watch their son, Matt Mullenbach, pitch in the first minor league baseball game held at the site. The MLB Network interviewed Dan, a former starting pitcher for the Beavers, about the family’s connection to Dyersville and “America’s pastime.”

“Barb and I were engaged in Dyersville during the summer of 1989,” Dan says. “I was working with Norwest Financial in Chicago, while Barb was teaching kindergarten in Wesley. On several weekends that summer, we met at the midpoint, which was Dyersville.”

Dan pitched for one of the town teams at the time, the Dyersville Whitehawks.

“The story was that baseball and Dyersville came full circle for our family,” Dan says while explaining the MLB Network’s interest in the Mullenbachs. “Barb and I were engaged in Dyersville as I was playing baseball. And then, 33 years later, we came back to Dyersville, to the Field of Dreams, to watch our son as he continues to chase his dream of pitching in the major leagues.”

Matt threw one inning of scoreless relief in the game on Tuesday for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a Class A minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. He is a 2015 graduate of Waukee High School, who competed collegiately for Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. Since 2021, Matt has been with the Twins organization, the favorite team of the Mullenbach and Feldman families at St. Ansgar and Terril, respectively.

“Matt’s first word was ‘ball,’” says Dan, who represented the Beavers from 1985-88, playing for Head Coaches Jay Beekmann and Mark Peterson. Mullenbach majored in finance and banking and spent the first 11 years of his career in Chicago. He and Barb eventually settled in Waukee. In addition to Matt, they have a daughter, Maddie, who plays lacrosse at Old Dominion University.

Barb teaches kindergarten for the Waukee Community School District, while Dan, who works for the Jeff Johnson Insurance Agency in Waukee, also serves as a collegiate and high school baseball umpire. He has worked the Class 3A and 4A Iowa High School Athletic Association State Baseball Tournament the past two seasons.

“Since the high school baseball season ended, Barb and I have been going to as many Cedar Rapids Kernels games as possible,” he says. “The team’s games are streamed, so we do get to watch Matt pitch. It’s been a lot of fun watching him compete. Seeing him pitch at the Field of Dreams was really a highlight. The field is amazing. It has a major league feel and yet it’s also an intimate setting; you’re right on top of the action.”

Interestingly, the day Matt pitched marked the family’s first visit to the iconic Iowa site, the farm where “Field of Dreams” was filmed in 1988. The movie was released in May 1989. Dan and Barb became engaged at the American Legion Post 137 in downtown Dyersville that summer.

Was baseball related to his proposal? Well, maybe, in just one way: As he popped the question, Dan presented Barb a ring, which did, of course, feature a “diamond.”