Butch Johnson, 41, property owner of the 1876 farmhouse and surrounding area just north on I-35 in Somerset, is the ultimate host.

Each year he opens his 40-acre property to the Apple River Mudd Doggs, his son Jordan's 14-and-under baseball team, their families and friends. Specifically speaking, he opens his baseball field to them.

His baseball field?

Like a scene out the 1989 movie, "Field of Dreams" where a man is compelled to build a baseball diamond in his Iowa cornfield, Johnson was compelled to build a ball field where he could play a game of catch with his son.

"People thought I was nuts," Johnson said about people's reaction to his efforts in the beginning.

Now, four years and $10,000 later, his ball field is a well-loved stop on the Gopher baseball tournament circuit.

"Some people specifically come to play so they can go tubing on the Apple River afterward," Johnson said. "It's like a mini-vacation."

From the deck in left field, Johnson and his friends sat in the shade to watch the last game of the season. A box of fireworks was at arm's length, each ready to be discharged when a home run was tallied.

The renovated farmhouse is right on I-35, and the "parking lot" is right beside the front yard. Cars were arranged in five rows on the grassy area beside the house. The space is large enough to accommodate team buses as they come in.

People sitting in their lawn chairs skirted the fenceline and they sat under canopies in the 90+ degree heat. Concessions were sold as a fund-raiser for the home team to travel to other tournaments.

Ding! The aluminum bat of the Mudd Doggs makes contact and a cloud of dirt explodes over home plate. The frantic shuffling and chorus of cheers accompany the runner as he heads for first base.

"Safe!" the umpire announced.

Will Sorensen, the umpire for Saturday's game, has been an umpire at Johnson's field -- a.k.a. The Dogg House -- for the last three years. A resident of Woodbury, he said he tries not to miss a game in Somerset.

"This baseball field is sweet; really one of a kind," Sorensen said after the inning was over. "It's a great atmosphere and Butch is a great host."

However, this is the last season these Mudd Doggs will play at the Dogg House. Because the field was built with younger ballplayers in mind, the older boys will need a larger field for next season.

Johnson said he has plenty of teams that are interested in his ball field, so it won't be a vacant lot.

"We'll still host a couple of tournaments each year," Johnson said. "It's a good way to pay for our own tournaments."

Even opposing team members and their families cite The Dogg House as one of their favorite fields to play.

"This is our third time this year coming to this field," said Dani McGarthwaite, mother of Blooming Valley, Minn. player Dylan, 13. "Dylan's been playing for five years, and this field is really different. It's very nice.

"Just like a 'Field of Dreams.'"