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Craig Counsell a perfect fit for Brewers

May 6, 2015

Craig Counsell has watched Milwaukee Brewers games for 35 years. Now, we get to find out what he’s learned along the way.

As a kid, he spent his days at County Stadium, where his father worked in the front office for nearly 10 years. At 16, he looked on with 29,356 others on Easter Sunday as Dale Sveum belted one of the most memorable home runs in franchise history.

In 2008, Counsell looked on from first as Ryan Braun crushed a walk-off grand slam to help the Brewers keep pace for the wild card. Two years later, he was there for Trevor Hoffman’s 600th save, throwing a strike from shortstop to first for the final out.

As his career neared its end, Counsell watched from the dugout in 2011 as Braun’s three-run homer helped clinch the National League Central.

Now, as Brewers manager, the 44-year-old Counsell looks on in a different role. One for which he’s a perfect fit.

Baseball in Milwaukee is important to Craig Counsell. He’s a Milwaukee Brewer and he’s “always felt that way.” Sure, he also was a player for the Rockies, Dodgers, Marlins and Diamondbacks along the way, but he came back to his hometown team. A team he wants to see succeed.

Of course, local ties can take Counsell only so far. His experience, knowledge and approach to the game also make Counsell a perfect fit for Milwaukee.

Counsell knows this team as well as anyone this side of general manager Doug Melvin and principal owner Mark Attanasio. Stepping in as manager, he’s already been with the team since 2007, including two-plus years in the front office. He knows the roster, the farm system and the front office. More importantly, he has a relationship with the players, having been a teammate of eight of them.

According to those teammates, Counsell was a hard-nosed player, an excellent leader in the clubhouse and “basically a player-coach” in his final seasons. He’s highly regarded within the organization and around the league, having been considered by other teams for jobs in recent years.

Counsell isn’t going to take this team to the World Series this year, and he may never do so. But he’s the perfect fit for what this team needs right now.

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