The Milwaukee Brewers and their fans were shocked when news broke that Craig Counsell had accepted a five-year $40 million contract to manage the Chicago Cubs. Counsell, whose contract had expired on October 31, had already interviewed with the New York Mets and Cleveland Guardians. However, recent reports state the the Cubs met with Counsell in secret on November 1 and offered him the job. Afterwards, general manager Carter Hawkins flew to Florida to fire David Ross.
The entire development shocked the baseball world and shook the Brewers’ fan base to its core. Already having to deal with the departure of David Stearns for the Mets and the ongoing debate over American Family Field’s needed repairs and the future of professional baseball in Milwaukee, Brewers fans do not have much to hang their hat on.
And as if all that were not enough, a recent report by Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated states that it was actually the Cubs, not the Brewers, who were Counsell’s dream destination.
Craig Counsell’s Friends Told the Chicago Cubs He Would Leave the Milwaukee Brewers For Them
Counsell, of course, is a Wisconsin native whose father worked for the Brewers. His playing career saw him spend two stints as a player in Milwaukee and he worked for the front office upon his retirement.
With two sons playing college baseball and two daughters in high school, Counsell did not want to leave the Midwest. Apparently, he had told his friends that his dream job was to manage in Chicago, and they kindly passed that information on to the Cubs.
“Counsell to the Cubs seemed like the biggest shock of all. But based on Counsell’s roots and desire to get to free agency in the first place, the result makes perfect sense.
“The Cubs knew this, which is why they placed a call to him on the first day he was a free agent.
“Chicago was very much aware that Counsell grew up and lives in Wisconsin, played at Notre Dame, has sons playing college baseball at Minnesota and Michigan and has two daughters in high school in Wisconsin. “The Midwest [pull] is real,” says one source familiar with negotiations between Counsell and the Cubs.
“As the Cubs did their homework, knowing Counsell chose to play this year out rather than sign an extension with Milwaukee, they were told by one of Counsell’s friends, ‘If he ever managed anywhere else, the Cubs have always been his dream job.'”
This is, of course, quite the shock given everything Counsell has said in promotions and in public about managing his hometown team. Going forward, it will certainly be difficult to take any Brewers player, coach, or official seriously when they talk about their commitment to the team or the team’s commitment to Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Brewers Are Interviewing Their First Managerial Candidate
According to Verducci’s report, the Brewers are already interviewing candidates for their open managerial position. The first to interview is bench coach Pat Murphy, who coached Counsell at Notre Dame and was once the manager of the San Diego Padres.
While Mark Attanasio told reporters earlier on Monday that the rest of Milwaukee’s coaching staff would be back in 2024, Verducci states that there is a possibility that Counsell would bring Murphy with him to Chicago.