Brewers new manager Craig Counsell seeks different vibe: “We’re going to try to be better teammates”

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Craig Counsell

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — For  many years, the Boston Red Sox were described as 25 guys, 25 cabs. In other words, each guy did his own thing and there was no teamwork in place. Perhaps not coincidentally, those Red Sox teams didn’t win. The new Milwaukee Brewers manager is seeking a different vibe in Milwaukee.

Craig Counsell had a lot of things on his to-do list when he took over as manager of the Brewers, including an often-overlooked idea.

“We’re going to try to be better teammates. That’s always been a big thing for me. Ever since I’ve sat in locker rooms, to me, the importance of being a quality teammate has been at the top of your job as a Major League baseball player,” Counsell said.

Baseball can be such a solitary sport for its participants, but nobody plays solo baseball. You are a part of a team.

“If we put it together as a team, you hear that word ‘team.’ It’s everybody pushing the same way, because if you are looking at individual stuff, it’s not going to work,” Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez said.

“I think it’s in all of us. I think we want to help each other. I think we want to hold each other accountable. I think we want to push each other, and we just need to be open to it,” Counsell said.

Counsell wasn’t the type of player to compile gaudy statistics, but club after club wanted him on the roster because he brought a selfless approach to his own game and without coming off as preachy, helped other players adopt at least some of that same approach.

“It’s amazing that when you come out and you play for the team, and you play for each other, you play to win the game doing little things — whether it’s getting a bunt down or getting a guy over or whatever, you know, sacrificing yourself for the team. It’s amazing how successful you end up being in the long run. In my opinion, the most successful players are the ones that are the most unselfish, and Counsell was the epitome of that,” Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said.

“My proudest moments, when you really think back on playing, my proudest moments were when you helped somebody. They really are. Helping somebody, I’m telling you, that makes you feel so good. It really does. I’m not talking about just a pat on the back. I’m talking about helping somebody, making somebody better. That’s real, and I think that’s really impactful and it’s impactful for the person that does it too,” Counsell said.

“It’s very rewarding to give back and to help others — whether it’s being a leader or it’s picking somebody up when they’re down or giving somebody advice like I got when I was a rookie. It’s a very rewarding experience and I’m glad that he brought that attitude and mentality because in this game, it’s hard to have a lot of,” Lucroy said.

There’s obviously a lot of heartfelt belief that it matters from some of the Brewers players, starting from the top.

Craig Counsell played for 16 years in the big leagues and appeared in more than 1,600 games. That means he had an awful lot of teammates and knows what makes a good one.