Brewers Fans Come from the Land Down Under
Last December, John and I received an e-mail from a reader named Mick Floyd from Melbourne. It was official. Our blog had gone international.
On the other side of the globe, Mick had grown up a big Brewers fan ever since Australian native Dave Nilsson was signed by the team back in 1987. Nilsson was a catcher for the Brewers at the Major League level from 1992-1999 and also became the first Australian to play in the MLB All-Star Game when he represented the team at the Mid-Summer Classic in 1999. Nilsson went on to represent Australia at the Olympics in 2000 and 2004 and at the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.
In a country where a wicket-keeper is more popular than a catcher and cricket automatically refers to a game rather than a chirping insect, Dave Nilsson had turned Mick on to America’s pastime and the Milwaukee Brewers.
Mick wrote to us to tell us that he enjoyed reading our blog and also to say that he was planning his first trip ever to the United States in the summer of 2010, making Milwaukee the crux.
I replied to Mick and, over the next couple of months, we traded a few e-mails. It turned out that besides our love for the Brew Crew, we had a few other things in common. Mick is close in age to me and has a marketing/communications job, too. I gave him some tips on where to stay and what to do when he got here.
In this time span, a friend of mine was sent to Australia for work. Besides his colleagues, Jason didn’t know anyone else in Australia. The only person I’d ever “met” from there was Mick, so I put Jason in touch with him via e-mail and Facebook. Although the two never ended up meeting in person, they traded messages and Mick was able to help Jason better understand some of the Aussie customs and direct him to some of the must-see attractions. Jason was grateful to Mick for his help and I decided that if he was willing to help a friend of mine (me being someone he barely knew), he must be a pretty good bloke.
As Mick’s trip approached, we e-mailed each other a little more and his plans became more solid. Since he was mostly asking me about the Brewers and things to do in Milwaukee, until this point, I had never really grasped the entirety of his trip.
I found out that Mick and his brothers Chris and Daniel were not just coming to the States to visit Milwaukee for a week and then going home. While seeing the Brewers play was the catalyst for the trip, the Floyd brothers kept tacking on other things that they wanted to see.
“We kept saying, ‘Well, while we are here…’,” Mick said, as he told me about their SEVEN WEEK tour of North America.
While they were here, indeed. They were starting their trip in New York and joining a Contiki Tour with about 50 others through Boston, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Cleveland and Chicago. From there, they would hop off the tour and make their way to Milwaukee, where they would stay for a week on their own. Then from Milwaukee, they were traveling to the West Coast and joining another tour, which would take them to San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Oh yes, and then…
“We’ve got a little cruise to Mexico after that, too,” Mick said.
They were seeing the U.S. from sea to shining sea and their trip was taking them to parts of North America that I’ve never seen before. I was truly fascinated by this endeavor and now could not wait to finally meet these mates.
Mick, Chris and Daniel arrived in Milwaukee on Friday, June 25 and the first thing on their agenda was to see the Brewers-Mariners game at Miller Park. I went down to meet them at their seats and found three guys in their mid-20’s completely decked out in Brewers gear.
L to R: Mick, Daniel and Chris Floyd
“We found the Team Store!” Mick exclaimed when I commented on their caps and jerseys.
They’d also come bearing gifts. Mick handed me a scarf and said “I heard it gets rather cold in Milwaukee, you might need this.”
It turned out it was a team scarf, for Carlton, of the AFL. That’s the Australian Football League, not the Arena Football League, for those of you scoring at home.
Australian Rules Football, or “footy,” is quite different than American Football and Carlton is the “best” team, Mick assured me.
By sheer coincidence, Australian pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith, who was one of Dave Nilsson’s teammates at the 2006 WBC, was starting for the Mariners that night. That wouldn’t prevent them from cheering on the Brewers though, Mick told me. They’d come too far for this. The Crew ended up winning that game 8-3 and the Floyd brothers had a great time at the game.
I really enjoyed talking with Mick. He had a lot of questions for me, such as “What is Crackerjack?”–he had grown up singing the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” but had never known what he was singing about– and how the Klement’s Famous Sausage Race began. We talked about the team and the ballpark. I also learned just as much from him, including the fact that my imitation of an Australian accent is “bloody awful” (crikey!) and my personal favorite– that things that have gone awry have now “gone pear-shaped.”
Mick had come to America with the primary purpose of seeing his Brewers play, so he made the most of his time in Milwaukee, coming to four games during his stay: the game that Sunday (where he was very psyched to get his Cecil Cooper Bobble Head), that next Tuesday vs. the Astros (he was excited that he got to see Yo start) and then again on Wednesday (where he finally got to try Crackerjack–let’s just say he was a bigger fan of our brats).
The Floyds had been to Fenway, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, the Rogers Center and Wrigley before they made it here, but they were very impressed by Miller Park– and by Milwaukee in general. Besides coming to the games, Mick and his brothers had a great time down at Summerfest and enjoyed the brewery tours among other things.
“It’s a pretty cool place, Milwaukee!” Mick said.
I was glad that Mick enjoyed his time here and I was sad to see him go, but alas, he had to head out to the West Coast. By now, Mick’s trip of a lifetime is winding down and soon he’ll be back home in Melbourne. I know we’ll definitely keep in touch and who knows–maybe one day I’ll return the visit with a trip to the Outback!