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- The Milwaukee Brewers hired Craig Counsell as their new manager on /4/4.
- The Brewers fired Ron Roenicke on /4/3 after a 7-18 start to the season.
The Milwaukee Brewers hired one of their former players, Craig Counsell, to be their new manager on /4/4. The team fired former manager Ron Roenicke the day before after a 7-18 start to the 2015 MLB season.
Craig Counsell is the new manager of the Milwaukee Brewers.
MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy confirmed the news in his /4/4 update. He says the Brewers gave Counsell a three-year deal which kicks off on his first day on the job this season.
The trend of hiring former players with no previous managerial experience continues with Counsell. He joins the likes of the Detroit Tigers’ Brad Ausmus, the St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny, Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox and Walt Weiss of the Colorado Rockies, per McCalvy.
However, Counsell’s advantage is he became a special assistant to Brewers general manager Bob Melvin once his playing days ended. McCalvy says “Counsell has been intricately involved in every aspect of the organization during the past three years.”
Melvin told McCalvy this experience bodes well for his new manager:
“He’s played 1,600 games as a player. I told him he was on the bench for about 800 games that he didn’t play, and during those games, I know that he was managing in his mind. That experience–the winning experience, the World Series rings, what he’s done in the front office working with me over the last three years–is going to be a very big help to him on the field.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak stresses Counsell’s local roots should also bode well for the franchise.
First, Counsell graduated from Whitefish Bay High School in 1988. His dad, John, was a member of the Brewers’ front office for eight years (1979-87). Counsell also spent six seasons with the team on top of his experience as Melvin’s special assistant, per Rosiak.
With this, Counsell said he’s a Milwaukee Brewer in his introductory press conference on Monday, per The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“I’ve worked here as a player and in the front office. I’ve watched Brewer games for 35 years. I’m a Milwaukee Brewer.
“I’ve always felt that way. Baseball in this city is important to me. It’s part of me. I feel a responsibility for it. I always have. And I’m proud to have that responsibility.
“It’s a great honor to move forward and try to give our fans what they deserve.”
Rosiak stresses Counsell is the 19th manager in Brewers franchise history and the second with Milwaukee roots. He follows the late Harvey Kuenn, the only skipper to have led the team to the World Series.
Counsell should get along well with his players: Eight of them–Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, Francisco Rodriguez, Martin Maldonado, Logan Schafer, Mike Fiers and Jeremy Jeffress–were his former teammates, per MLB.com.
Melvin then told Rosiak that Counsell knows a thing or two about relating to today’s players:
“He’s not far from being in the clubhouse with the players wearing that uniform. He knows today’s players more than somebody from the outside who doesn’t know our organization or maybe somebody from the outside that maybe hasn’t managed in a few years.
“There are too many things familiar with him here.
“He knows our minor-league system. He knows our coaches in the minor leagues. He knows how we operate. He has been involved in the scouting aspect. He has been in all those meetings, so he has that familiarity.
“I do think it is a little bit in how he played the game, too. He played the game with a chip on his shoulder. He played the game to win. I’d say he has a real edge for preparation.”
For his part, Brewers right fielder and 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun told Rosiak that Counsell is the “best leader” he’s ever played with:
“I couldn’t imagine them bringing in somebody that would be a better fit than Craig Counsell is. If there’s anybody that is Milwaukee Brewers baseball, aside from probably Bob Uecker, it’s him.
“He grew up here, lives here, played here for a long time and had a ton of success as a player. Was widely respected. Probably the best leader I ever played with.
“So I don’t think they could have possibly brought anybody in that was any better than Craig Counsell is as far as being able to relate to us. I’m sure he’ll be incredibly supportive. He’s obviously very intelligent.
“Inexperienced, but I don’t think that’s something that would prevent him from being great at what he does.”
McCalvy says Counsell has rejected offers to coach somewhere else because he wants to remain in the Milwaukee area with his wife, Michelle, and their four kids.
According to FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Andrew Gruman, Counsell considers Melvin and former Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland as the most influential leaders he’s ever played for.
The Brewers fired former manager Ron Roenicke on /4/3 after a 7-18 start, the worst in Milwaukee’s franchise history, per ESPN.
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