WHITEFISH BAY (WITI) — Those who have been following the baseball career of Craig Counsell say the move to make him manager of the Milwaukee Brewers makes sense. It means another win for Whitefish Bay — and hopefully a bunch of wins for the Brew Crew.
The most familiar fans say it’s never been difficult to picture Counsell in his new role. When Tom Harris heard the news, he says you couldn’t paint a bigger smile on his face.
“To have a guy that you went to school with running a team that you’ve watched your whole life — that’s pretty exciting,” said Harris, a friend of Counsell.
Harris owns the Whitefish Bay “Great Frame Up” store. He says Counsell should bring a boost to the Brewers’ playoff prospects.
“Got a lot of baseball to play, and I think he’s the right guy that can make some great changes and get the club motivated,” said Harris.
Meanwhile, David Casey followed in Counsell’s footsteps in both high school and college baseball. He says he’ll enjoy celebrating Counsell’s career growth with the aspiring batters at his Milwaukee Baseball Academy.
“It’s just great for all the little kids to be able to see that it’s possible — not only to play in the big leagues, to coach in the big leagues, to be a G.M., an assistant G.M. in the big leagues,” said Casey.
And all of this started in Whitefish Bay.
“The Little League field’s named after him. He’s been so generous back to the community. All the little kids meet him because his little kids are playing in the Little League and he’s been great for Whitefish Bay baseball,” said Casey.
Harris says he’s also excited about the business he expects Counsell’s title may bring to his business. He explains as a Brewers infielder, Craig had folks framing all kinds of Counsell memorabilia. He anticipates the new position will result in much of the same.
Brewers fans are just as excited for Counsell to take over as manager. Sometimes when a team hires a new coach or manager, fans will have to do some research to learn the new leader’s background. In this case, fans already know Counsell’s story.
Monika Monson says she went right to her closet when the Brewers announced Counsell as manager.
“I guess that it`s knowing that he`s from around here, he`s from Whitefish Bay, I think it`s really cool. He`s a hometown kid. He`s always been successful. I was a fan of him when he was in Arizona and Florida and he came back to Milwaukee so it`s really exciting,” Monson said.
“I think he can get us out of this little slump we`re in right now,” Zach Schuster said.
If Counsell is to manage a playoff team in 2015, it will take a lot of work. The Brewers began their homestand vs. the Dodgers Monday, May 4th with the worst record in baseball. Another challenge is maintaining the team’s respect. In Counsell’s case, that means assigning roles to players who were recently his peers, or even teammates.
“It`s gonna be weird because how are the players gonna be able to look at him, because he was just a teammate,” Jade Van Buren said.
“I kind of think about Jason Kidd with Milwaukee and that worked out pretty well, so I think this could work out good too,” Michael Kipp said.
Counsell might be best known for his often-imitated, never-duplicated batting stance. Whether his managing tactics are conventional or quirky remains to be seen.
“It`s only May. It`s only early May. They`re already starting some changes so hopefully it`ll get us on a positive road because we can only go up from here — so try to keep positive about it,” Monson said.