Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

It’s Official: Craig Counsell Is the New Brewers Manager

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Folks, the Milwaukee Brewers and their managerial situation don’t matter much in the cosmic scheme of things.

But as I blogged about the possibilities I saw for a manager late last night, I thought I’d come back and say a few words about the selection of Craig Counsell as the new manager of the Milwaukee Brewers.

I watched the press coverage, carried live by Channel 4 (WTMJ) in Milwaukee. Counsell spoke well, appears eager to take on the responsibility of managing, and pointed out that he’s always felt like a Brewer — that as he started coming to Brewers games and hanging out at old Milwaukee County Stadium around age ten, he knows that the Brewers logo means something.

Counsell, you see, is from Whitefish Bay. His father used to work for the Brewers, which is one reason Counsell hung out so often at the ballpark. (These are things I knew, but didn’t say in my previous post about Ron Roenicke being fired, as I didn’t think Counsell would be the pick.)

Note that Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin explained the odd timing in this way (my best paraphrase, as I do not have a transcript in front of me): Melvin said that since last September 1, the Brewers only won two games in a row three times (including this past weekend against the Cubs). And that’s not good enough.

But if that were the only reason for Roenicke to get fired, you’d still think it would’ve happened weeks ago.

And Melvin really had no answer for this; instead, he said that owner Mark Attanasio had called him on the Brewers off-day last Thursday and discussed the way the team was playing (poorly), and how neither of them liked it very much. Then, Melvin said, they slept on their decision for a few days.

Look. I’ve already laid out why I thought Counsell shouldn’t be the pick. My view had nothing to do with whether or not I think Counsell is qualified; of course he is. And it had nothing to do with whether or not I like Counsell; I liked him as a player, and figure if he’s as much of a straight shooter as a manager as he was as a player, I’m going to like him a whole lot more than I liked Ron Roenicke.

But I still don’t like the timing at all.

This sort of timing only would make sense if the Brewers had gone after one of the three men with ties to the Brewers organization who are currently working for other teams: Ted Simmons, Mike Maddux, and Dale Sveum. There, I could see where contractual issues would have to be dealt with, maybe compensation to the other team (definitely so in the case of Sveum and Maddux, as they are currently coaches for the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, respectively).

This situation, I really don’t fathom.

Counsell has been a special assistant to the GM for years. He could’ve been hired last year in October. He could’ve again been hired when the Brewers started the season off 2-13.

There was no need to hire him right now.

In that, I echo the words of Ron Roenicke, who was quoted by Adam McCalvy as saying, “I told Doug I wished it would have happened a week ago,” Roenicke said. “I would have understood it better then.”

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Written by Barb Caffrey

May 4, 2015 at 11:14 am

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