October 25- Paul Wilkins arrives from Melbourne to Los Angeles International Airport, about to catch connecting flight to Chicago. Photo by Robert Novotny
Aussies at the MLB World Series- Game One Profile
By Robert Novotny, under special arrangement with the ABL
Name: Paul Wilkins
From: Balywn in Melbourne, Victoria
Supports in ABL: Melbourne Aces, Foundation Member
Supports in MLB: Chicago Cubs
Currently Holding MLB World Series Tickets?: No
Backstory: Paul booked his flights to Chicago shortly after the Cubs clinched the National League Championship Series over All-Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6. After spending two months in Chicago this year from July to September, Paul’s bed in a Chicago-area friend’s spare room is still warm. Paul attended sixteen Cubs games in person this season, primarily at Wrigley Field as well as Houston, Milwaukee, Oakland, St. Louis, and Chicago’s US Cellular Field where the American League Chicago White Sox play.
Wilkins first became a Cub fan in 2007 when he was in Chicago for a work conference. At the time he considered backing the Chicago White Sox who were still fresh off their 2005 MLB World Series title, “but I was drawn to the underdog story and decided to go for the Cubs,” Wilkins shared. His first game at Wrigley Field was Opening Day in 2008 when he happened to sit in a few rows from Pearl Jam lead singer and Cubs die-hard fan Eddie Vedder.
From there Wilkins took a trip to see the Cubs in Chicago almost every year, making close friends while sitting in the outfield bleachers. Many of those friends he considers to be among his best mates. Paul’s two-month visit to Chicago earlier this year included the opportunity to stand up as a groomsman in one such friend’s wedding. Another highlight of the visit was attending a luncheon with Cub’s front office brain-trust Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
Not originally a big baseball fan, Paul’s affinity for the Chicago Cubs inspired him to become a Foundation Member of the Melbourne Aces from when the ABL relaunched in 2010.
How will you watch World Series Game One: “Going to get together with some good Chicago friends I have come to know on my visits to see the Cubs over the years…in some ways I don’t feel like I even deserve a World Series ticket[when the Series shifts back to Chicago for Game Three]considering how many people in Chicago have been waiting a lifetime…for me it is all about being in Chicago to soak up a moment that means so much to the city and sharing it with my best mates here.” –Paul Wilkins
Author’s Note: The Chicago Cubs have not participated in the MLB World Series since 1945, not winning it since 1908. The Cleveland Indians have not participated since 1997, not winning since 1948.
Game Two Profile: Dan Nancarrow of Brisbane, a Chicago Cubs fan in Cleveland for Game Two