Category: Wisconsin

Where has the time gone? #UKBrewCrew #baseball

I can’t believe it has been over 3 years since the notion of following a sport I knew nothing about came to fruition and look where I am now!

This year I will be playing my second season in the British Baseball League. I now have it confirmed that I will also be attending my first ever MLB game at Miller Park. To say I’m excited is an understatement!

We’ve (Kent Marinerss) done 7 weeks of a 10 week indoor training regime. It’s been really good. We’ve done loads of drills and running and even had a go at pitching for the first time. My new glove is breaking in nicely too. The team spirit is good and we all can’t wait to get outside and play on the diamond.

Off the field, I am fully booked up with flights and accommodation to visit Milwaukee. I also sorted tickets to 3 games at Miller Park. I’ll be there in the 4th June for game 3 of the Dodgers series as well as game 1 and 4 of the Giants series. I may get to go to game 2 or 3 as well but I want to go visit some places with some friends who are coming up from North Carolina to see me. 

So this year promises to be a big year. Let’s hope Craig’s rebuilding of the Brewers gives us an improved season and last years. I mean if the Cubs can win a World Series then surely anything can happen right?

Go Brewers!

Pitching

Batting seems the coolest

….as a child, whenever we played cricket on our local field or at school, everyone always wanted to be the batsman. Why is it that the appeal to playing a sport that involves bat and ball, being the big hitter is what everyone wants to aspire to? It was certainly true with me and my friends in our sleepy little town in Sussex, England. Yet when I started to go and watch cricket, I found I did most of my beer drinking during my teams batting. It was actually the bowling I was more interested in as a spectacle. I find it phenomenal that a bowler can bowl a ball at speeds of up to 90mph with that pin point accuracy or that a bowler can get a ball to turn in the air using the friction of the ball through its projection. I wonder if I will find the same to be true with baseball. It’s definitely something I’m looking forward to seeing. I found out that the fastest ever pitch recorded was by Aroldis Chapman of the San Cincinnati Reds, officially recorded at 105mph (unofficially at 106mph). Considering a Pitcher is standing and not running, it beggars belief how much power there must be in a pitchers arm. I think I’m going to have to buy a baseball, glove and bat and see if I can get some friends out for knock around. I reckon I’d be lucky to even be able to pitch at 50mph!

Different Pitches

….I understand that there is more than one way to pitch a ball too! Yovani Gallardo (whom thanks to DJ I now know to be our star pitcher) is known to throw 4 different pitches in his game, the fastball, the curveball, the slider and the changeup. His fast ball is usually between 92 and 95mph with the other pitches in the 80’s! So that gives the batsman less than a second to work out where the ball is going and swing his bat to connect with it. I need to get my head around the statistics of strike outs and giving up runs, but from what I understand Gallardo is on course for some fantastic stats by the time he finishes his career.

Still no T-Shirt yet

….my Brewers top hasn’t arrived yet. I really hope it does this week. I spent time yesterday at Lakeside shopping centre in Essex yesterday. My girlfriend willingly followed me around the sports shops whilst I looked for anything Brewers related. Sadly, there was nothing, except Yankees and Dodgers stuff and who wants to buy that stuff? Of course I jest. I did nearly buy a baseball and bat but decided against just buying a cheap set for the sake of it. I did want to know though, are baseball bats metal? The one I could have bought yesterday was wood but it really does sound like they are metal when they connect with the ball in a game.

Its 42 days to opening day

…so I can’t resist putting this picture up for my official @Brewers count down.

42

Until next time…….GO BREWERS!!!!!

One week a fan (well 6 days but who’s counting!)

Why am I writing this blog?

….It’s not very often in your life that you can actually pin point the day something enters your life. In the case of me and baseball I have that exception. Tuesday 4February 2014 will forever now be known as my initiation to The Brew Crew. Do I need to do some sort of initiation? So I thought, why not document it? From that date, I can record everything about my life as a Milwaukee Brewers fan.

I wish I could go back to the time when I first fell in love with my football team (Soccer to those of you in the U.S.). For the record I follow Brighton and Hove Albion (www.seagulls.co.uk) currently playing in the Championship (2nd Tier) of the English Football League pyramid. I have few memories of my time at our old stadium (The Goldstone Ground), I can’t remember many of the games I went to see and this is a real shame, because supporting the “Seagulls” as we call them has become a major part of my life, and something my nephews are now learning as they are dragged, screaming and kicking sometimes, week in, week out to watch us play at our new fantastic 30,500 all seated stadium, The American Express Community Stadium (or The Amex as we refer to it).

In this day and age, with the invention of the internet and digital cameras, we can record every detail of our lives that are important to us. So as I have chosen the path of becoming a Brewers fan, I have the opportunity to record everything so that I can look back in the future.

What have I learnt about the Brewers in my first week of being a fan?

….They are known as the Brewers because of Milwaukee’s association with the Brewing Industry (if that isn’t a good enough reason to support a team you’ve never previously known about then what is!) They play their home games at Miller Park. A 41,900 capacity stadium built for $400 million and opened 6 April 2001 after moving from their previous home (of 30 years) the Milwaukee County Stadium. Miller Park has a fully retractable fan roof to counter the unpredictable Wisconsin weather.

The team itself was formed in 1969, originally in Seattle (known as the Pilots) and played just one season at the Sick’s Stadium in Seattle (Washington). In 1970 the team was acquired through the Bankruptcy Courts by Bud Selig who moved the franchise to Milwaukee after unsuccessfully trying to acquire a number of other teams for the city in the years previous. The Brewers were now born (or re-born if you look back to the early 1900’s when a number of minor league baseball teams played in Milwaukee under the same name). This brought major league baseball back to Milwaukee after their franchise team, The Milwaukee Braves (originally the Boston Braves), whom played in the city from 1953 to 1965 moved to Atlanta forming the now Atlanta Braves. Selig finally sold the club to current owner Mark Attanasio in 2004.

The Brewers play in the Central Division of the National League (founded in 1876). This was originally classed as the Senior League before the formation of the American League in 1901. There are 3 divisions of 5 teams in both the National League and American League (West, Central and East). Their divisional rivals are the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs. So it begs the question, who do we dislike the most? Rivalries interest me. In England, our football teams have some pretty fierce rivalries and it certainly adds to the atmosphere of games!

Answers only create more questions!

….after learning a little about the Brewer’s history there come many more questions. More of which I hope I can answer soon. Who are our biggest rivals? How many players are there in a team for a game? Just how many games are played in a baseball season? Who are our star players? What are the rules to baseball? I’m definitely going to have to write about some baseball soon! Although I have had fun looking through you tube at some memorable moments, More on that another day though. During this next week, I aim to look in to the team, the roster, the manager and hopefully a little in to the rules too!

So a second objective complete!

I now know where the team are located, a little of the history of the team and of the area of Wisconsin. I think that gives me good ground to focus on the real things now. Oh and my t-shirt hasn’t been delivered yet so no picture yet!

A sombre note to end this blog.

I was saddened to find out about the accident in 1999 that resulted in the deaths of 3 workers whilst constructing the new stadium. If I ever get to visit Miller Park, I will take a minute of silence in their memory.

Until next time…….GO BREWERS!!!!!

Where is Milwaukee?

First things first…..

….so as suggested in my initial blog, I have chosen to follow a new sport and support a new team and combine that with learning how to write a blog. I set myself some objectives one I have managed to actually complete and the others are still ongoing.

Milwaukee….

….is the largest city in Wisconsin, United States of America. Ok many people know this. Even I knew that. I didn’t have a clue where in the United States, Wisconsin actually was. Very quickly I found out to my delight that it sits on Lake Michigan just 90 miles (a mere 2 hours drive) north of Chicago. I was happy to learn this as Chicago is the only city in the States that I have visited (other than Orlando when I was a child to go to Disney World)! It is for this reason that my NFL team is Da Bears!

Milwaukee’s History as I know it….

….originally 3 towns known as Juneautown, Kilbourntown and Walker’s Point which were all joined by roads crossing the many rivers that pass through it. These include The Milwaukee River, The Menomonee and the Kinnickinnic to name a few. A number of battles between the towns (mainly between Juneautown and Kilbourntown) ensued because of their egotistical founders dislike for each other. After the Milwaukee Bridge War of 1845 the 3 towns decided to merge and become the city of Milwaukee. Soon after, a large population of German immigrants started to arrive bringing with them their love of brewing beer. Wisconsin became a focal point for the wheat industry because of this although later became known as the dairy lands of America now famed for its cheese industry. Today the German history of the city is still celebrated and there are an abundance of pubs and bars in the city. Oktoberfest is actually celebrated (in July). It must be said that there is a large Polish contingent in the city also and the south side of Milwaukee still represents this.

Only one of the breweries remains in Milwaukee, The Miller Brewery and is a major employer in the city (plus major sponsor for the baseball team). I was also surprised to find out that another famous company based in the city is Harley-Davidson (I’m not a biker). Of course I could devote my blog to the city and its history but that is not my intention so that will do for now, but I have learnt something (every day is a school day).

Objective 2 complete….

….I spent a long time looking through websites at clothing ranges for the Milwaukee Brewers. I finally managed to find a supplier of NBL clothing based in the UK and can proudly say that I have ordered myself a Brewers t-shirt. I can’t wait until it arrives so I can post a picture of myself proudly wearing the team colours.

On the road to super fan…

….so I’ve learnt a little of the history of the city, but now I need to look in to the history of my team. I understand its 50 days until opening day! That’s not long to learn the rules of the game and the players of the team. I best get working on that then! Next time I actually intend to write about some baseball! Oh and thanks for the comment and follow DJ.

Until next time…….GO BREWERS!!!!!