Craig Counsell

Craig Counsell Park sign vandalized after he was named Cubs new manager

Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers was named as the Chicago Cubs new manager Monday

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The Cubs - Brewers rivalry just got a little more interesting.

Hours was announced that the Chicago Cubs were firing David Ross and hiring Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell, reactions poured in.

“We’ve lost Craig, but I’ve reflected on this. Craig has lost us and lost our community,” Brewers' majority owner Mark Attanasio said. “I can’t imagine somebody wanting to be somewhere else.”

Speaking of the community — some of them have weighed in, too.

TMJ4 in Milwaukee reported a "Craig Counsell Park" Little League sign in Whitefish Bay just outside of Milwaukee was defaced with profanity overnight.

According to the report, a "three-letter profanity was added to the sign with spray paint."

Monday, the Cubs announced they had fired manager David Ross after four seasons.

“Today we made the difficult decision to dismiss David Ross as our Major League manager,” said Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer in a statement. “On behalf of the Cubs organization, we express our deep gratitude for David’s contributions to our club, both on and off the field.”

According to the Cubs, Counsell will be introduced to media at Wrigley Field next week.

Counsell, a long-time MLB veteran player and widely considered one of the top managers in baseball, took over the Brewers in 2015 and guided them to five playoff appearances in nine seasons at the helm. His contract expired in early November, with the Cubs jumping in and reportedly signing him to the richest deal in MLB history.

The Brewers reportedly offered Counsell a deal worth $5.5 million a season to stay in Milwaukee, but instead he signed a five-year pact with the Cubs that will reportedly pay him $8 million a season, a record for a Major League manager.

Who is Craig Counsell?

Playing as an infielder, Counsell had a 16-year playing career, including spending a long chunk of time with the Brewers. He collected World Series rings with the Marlins in 1997 and the Diamondbacks in 2001, slashing .255/.342/.344 in his MLB career. He hit 42 career home runs, drove in 390 RBI’s and registered 103 stolen bases in 5,488 career plate appearances.

After his playing career ended in 2011, Counsell worked in the Brewers’ front office for two seasons, then was a color commentator for Brewers’ broadcasts for one season.

He was hired as the team’s manager in May 2015. The Brewers won three division titles with Counsell at the helm and had reached the postseason in five of the last six seasons, including an NLCS appearance in 2018.

That season, the Brewers finished in a tie with the Cubs atop the National League Central, winning a one-game playoff at Wrigley Field. The Brewers then were dispatched from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This year, the Brewers won the Central Division crown again, but were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in two games in October.  

In nine seasons at the helm, Counsell went 707-625 as manager of the Brewers, racking up the most wins in team history.

Throughout the season, rumors swirled around Counsell’s future with the club, as he managed the final year of his contract. Speculation only ramped up after David Stearns left the Brewers to join the front office of the New York Mets, with Counsell linked to that job after the club fired Buck Showalter.

The Brewers reportedly offered Counsell a deal worth $5.5 million a season to stay in Milwaukee, but instead he signed a five-year pact with the Cubs that will reportedly pay him $8 million a season, a record for a Major League manager.

Now, Counsell will look to get the Cubs back to the postseason for the first time since 2020. The Cubs fell just short this year, finishing behind the Philadelphia Phillies, Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks in the wild card race.

The Cubs haven’t won a playoff game since 2017, when they lost in five games to the Dodgers in the NLCS. The Cubs lost the NL Wild Card game in 2018 and were swept in the 2020 playoffs by the Marlins in a best-of-three series at Wrigley Field.

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