On Monday, Nov. 13, the Chicago Cubs officially introduced their new manager in a news conference. Counsell will be the highest paid manager in MLB history with a five-year contract worth $40 million, which helped lure him away from Milwaukee.
Counsell, who grew up in Whitefish Bay, managed the Brewers for nine seasons. The winningest manager in Brewers' history led them to the playoffs in five of the last six seasons. The best run came in that first postseason trip in 2018, winning 96 games and reaching game seven of the NLCS.
A mix of Chicago and Milwaukee media asked Counsell questions at his introductory news conference.
"The Brewers have meant a lot to me. I have great relationships there," said Cubs Manager Craig Counsell. "The relationships there are the relationships that I am going to try with all of me to build in Chicago."
What do Cubs fans think?
"It’s good for Chicago," Cubs fan Norman Massel said. "He’s going to help the team out, I can see why people in Wisconsin are disappointed."
That was evident last week after someone defaced a sign in Counsell’s honor.
It stands outside Craig Counsell Park in Whitefish Bay, where Counsell grew up and still lives.
Going 90 miles south to Wisconsin’s biggest rival makes his exit painful for fans.
"I mean, they lost Aaron Rodgers, too," Massel said. "Players don’t stick around anymore. They get more money and they move on."
Cubs fans say they’re just as shocked as Brewers fans to learn of the organization’s new hire.
"I think in Chicago we were under the impression that Ross was going to be the manager for several more years," Massel said. "Based on the last month of the year in September, the Cubs collapsed."
Counsell’s leadership signals big expectations of what the Cubs could do next. It also adds fuel to the fire of what’s one of the most competitive matchups in Major League Baseball.
"The rivalry just went up to another level here," Cubs fan Josh Sklar said. "The fans are going to be more animated and more enthusiastic, especially in Milwaukee. That’ll be interesting to see how they greet him."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.