The news of Craig Counsell joining the Cubs as their new manager came as a shock to everyone, including Brewers owner Mark Attanasio. While Attanasio expressed his surprise and disappointment, he made it clear that he did not feel betrayed by Counsell’s decision to leave Milwaukee. In this article, we will analyze the impact of Counsell’s departure and explore Attanasio’s perspective on the situation.
When Counsell informed Attanasio of his decision, the owner’s first reaction was disbelief. Attanasio even posed the question, “Are you messing with me?” This reaction was shared by the entire organization and the fan base, who were equally taken aback by Counsell’s move to the Cubs. It was unexpected, and the shockwaves reverberated throughout Milwaukee.
A Loss for Milwaukee
Attanasio acknowledged the significant contributions Counsell had made to the Brewers over the past 17 years. Under Counsell’s leadership, the team had reached the playoffs five times and won three NL Central titles in the last six years. However, Attanasio also emphasized that the feeling of loss was mutual. He stated, “We’re all here today because we lost Craig, but I’ve reflected on this — Craig has lost us, and he’s lost our community also.” This perspective highlights the impact of Counsell’s departure on both the team and the Milwaukee community.
The circumstances surrounding Counsell’s decision to join the Cubs remain somewhat unclear. Attanasio admitted that the move caught everyone off guard, including him. There were initial feelings of confusion and disbelief within the Brewers organization. However, upon further reflection, some players expressed understanding. Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff stated, “I was not expecting the Cubs. … But then when you dig down a little bit deeper, you kind of get it.” While the exact reasons for Counsell’s decision are not explicitly stated, there seems to be an underlying understanding among some players in the organization.
Despite the shock and disappointment, Attanasio made it clear that he did not perceive Counsell’s move to the Cubs as a betrayal. He expressed confidence in what the Brewers had built and mentioned that he couldn’t imagine someone wanting to be somewhere else. Attanasio stated, “Our goal for our family is for me and my sons to be the stewards for the community for a long time.” This commitment to the community underscores Attanasio’s dedication to the Brewers’ long-term success.
Attanasio revealed that the Brewers had previously offered Counsell a contract that would have made him the highest-paid manager in baseball. This offer demonstrated the team’s high regard for Counsell and their desire to retain him. However, Counsell ultimately chose to go in a different direction. Attanasio did not disclose whether the team had the opportunity to match the Cubs’ offer, leaving some aspects of the negotiation process undisclosed.
Attanasio acknowledged that Counsell had given a significant number of years to the organization and had requested the opportunity to explore other options. In a show of support, Attanasio allowed Counsell to test the open market. He stated, “He had given a lot of years to the organization, and he asked for the opportunity to do this. I want to support our people.” This approach reflects Attanasio’s respect for Counsell and his willingness to prioritize the well-being and aspirations of the staff.
Craig Counsell’s departure from the Brewers has undoubtedly left a void in the team and the community of Milwaukee. While the move was unexpected, Attanasio acknowledged the mutual loss and expressed confidence in the Brewers’ future. As the team searches for a new manager, they will strive to replicate the success achieved under Counsell’s guidance. The Brewers intend to maintain continuity within the coaching staff, suggesting an effort to build upon the foundation established by Counsell. Although Counsell’s decision to join the Cubs may have come as a surprise, it now serves as an opportunity for the Brewers to find new ways to succeed and continue to make an impact in the baseball world.