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Brewers’ Manager Craig Counsell talks team momentum at spring training: ‘We’ve earned expectations’

ARIZONA -- The Milwaukee Brewers are back at spring training, getting ready for what they and fans hope will be a memorable season. FOX6's Brandon Cruz sat down with Brewers' Manager Craig Counsell and started off by asking about what's different with this year's team vs. last year.

Counsell: "I was concerned as we got into January that nothing would be different, and that we were bringing back the whole team -- not concerned that that wasn't good enough, just that we would kind of focus on last year a little bit too much and then we added some really good players in camp in Cain and Yelich, and I think that kind of flipped it for me and kind of flipped it for the players, and flipped it for the fans in that we are looking forward and excited about that it kind of kept the momentum going I think that we hopefully created a little bit last year."

Lorenzo Cain, David Stearns

Christian Yelich

Mark Attanasio

Cruz: "Obviously from the fans' perspective, there are a lot of expectations. Inside, you guys have always had the expectations but also now, Mark Attanasio, seems to have these expectations of winning right now. What does that do for you in the sense of running this team day to day?"

Counsell: "We feel like we've earned expectations, and expectations to me are always something from the outside, and so that people have them means you've accomplished something. Really it's the spot that you work to get in, especially when you take over in a spot that I took over in. You work to want to have expectations, so this is like, you are expected to have them. You are working to get them. You want them. You want to maintain the fact that we have expectations every season."

Cruz: "Sometimes a Major League roster is already set by the time you guys are here. You have guys fighting to get on to that roster."

Counsell: "You know, we have decisions to make at the end of the spring. I think we've come to spring with some decisions to make...but as we've raised the talent level, I think, of the group, the decisions, they are always hard decisions. Telling someone they are on the team or not on the team is a very difficult part of spring training. It's an important part of spring training, but we feel like we raised the talent level of the choices that we have."

Cruz: "You have the goal and the set-up to win this year. What does that mean that, here we are in 2018, not 2020, talking about this team potentially reaching the playoffs and going farther?"

Counsell: "There was no timetable when we started this thing. David's done a great job kind of organizationally and culturally of getting, like I said, turning a big ship around and I think that happened frankly in year one. A lot of this work with a lot of the choices that we made of how we would attack year one 2016, so I thought last year, you start to see some of the results of it and hopefully it continues."