The Milwaukee Brewers are searching for a new manager after Craig Counsell, the winningest manager in franchise history, decided to leave for the Chicago Cubs. Counsell, whose contract expired after October 31, was known to have interviewed with the New York Mets and Cleveland Guardians. However, the Cubs came in with the richest offer, $8 million a year for five years, prying the Milwaukee native away from his home town team.
To say that Brewers fans were surprised and upset would be an understatement. While many understand Counsell’s decision to go where he would make the most money, the fact that it was the Cubs has left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.
And it sounds like there is no one more bitter than Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio. The Los Angeles businessman, who is entering his 20th season of ownership, held a press conference today to discuss Counsell’s decision to leave Milwaukee.
To say that Attanasio was shocked and upset would be an understatement.
Milwaukee Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio Was Shocked by Craig Counsell’s Decision
Attanasio opened up his media session on Monday by talking about the promises he made to the franchise when he first purchased the team in 2004. He reiterated that the Brewers, that the city of Milwaukee is a community, which led him into this statement:
“We’re all here today because we lost Craig. But I’ve reflected on this. You know, Craig has lost us and he’s lost our community. It’s a really special place to be.”
Later in his session with the media, Attanasio acknowledged that Counsell was a key part in the Brewers’ success during his tenure as manager, but also said:
“If I were to list all the reasons we have been successful, I would need another 30 minute [press conference].”
While Attanasio does give Counsell some credit for the team’s success, it is obvious that he is trying to minimize the effect that his former manager had on the team. The Brewers’ owner would go on to say things like “We can compete with anybody” and “We’re going to look for a manager who can continue having a terrific clubhouse culture and help us keep winning and hopefully get over the hump in the playoffs.”
That “get over the hump in the playoffs” line certainly sounded like a shot at Counsell.
Craig Counsell Informed Mark Attanasio Before the Season Ended He Was Thinking of Leaving the Milwaukee Brewers
During the press conference, Attanasio revealed that Counsell informed him back in September that he was leaning towards managing in 2024 (instead of taking a year off) and that he also was thinking about taking a job outside of Milwaukee.
This, of course, calls into question Counsell’s dedication to seeing the Brewers succeed in the playoffs. Many fans, at the time the postseason started, questioned the inclusion of Jesse Winker on the Playoff roster and Winker’s pinch hitting appearance.
Attanasio said his goal was to make sure Counsell’s leanings did not become a distraction. While he may have achieved that goal in that the fans did not know about it, one has to wonder if the players were thinking about it.
Mark Attanasio Refuses to Answer a Very Important Question
The Brewers’ owner said that when Counsell told him he was taking the Cubs’ offer, he was shocked. “You messing with me,” he said to his former manager.
He was not. Counsell has left.
When asked if the Whitefish Bay native had given Milwaukee the opportunity to match the Cubs’ offer, Attanasio dodged the question.