On the day that Craig Counsell was introduced by the Chicago Cubs as their new manager, the former skipper of the Milwaukee Brewers threw another gut punch toward fans of the Wisconsin franchise.
Craig Counsell's answer has Milwaukee Brewers fans shaking their heads
During his first official media conference with the Cubs, Counsell admitted that his thoughts had been elsewhere at times during his nine-year stint overseeing things in the Milwaukee dugout.
It's a bit of an odd statement coming from Counsell, who is still in line to potentially win the National League Manager of the Year award later this week when results from BBWAA members are announced. In 2023, the Brewers won the NL Central for the second time in three years before being ousted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Wild Card round of the postseason.
Perhaps Counsell had gotten too comfortable in Milwaukee, and perhaps making the trek to oversee the Cubs will provide him with that "new challenge" he has been seeking. The move certainly sent shockwaves throughout baseball, especially when many thought Counsell might take the opening with the New York Mets or remain in Milwaukee in 2024. However, reports have surfaced saying Counsell was never intending to follow president of baseball operations David Stearns from the Brewers to the Mets.
The Cubs will certainly provide a challenge for Counsell, especially after the North Siders finished just outside the postseason picture last year. There are plenty of questions in Chicago this offseason, including the fate of Cody Bellinger and if the team can possibly land Shohei Ohtani, Rhys Hoskins or a number of other free agents who have been linked to the team in the early offseason.
For Milwaukee, however, it's a different picture. Counsell's departure has seemingly set in motion a tidal wave of changes, including the Brewers reportedly "open to moving virtually any player on its roster," according to an article in The Athletic.
Milwaukee will have plenty of challenges seemingly ahead this offseason as the franchise tries to put Counsell and the moves to the Cubs in the rearview mirror.