Shield your eyes, Brewers fans.
Craig Counsell is now officially the manager of the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs introduced the former Milwaukee manager as their own Monday in a ceremonial news conference that featured president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer adorning Counsell with his new gear. It was a day of celebration in Chicago and surely one of scorn in Brewers circles jilted by their former clubhouse leader leaving them for their rival.
Monday was a formality. It's been a week since the initial shock of Counsell's exit for Chicago set in Milwaukee. But it's the first time Counsell has publicly addressed his decision to leave the franchise he managed for nine seasons.
Counsell first faced the general media at his news conference, where he spoke of turning the page and embracing his new opportunity in Chicago.
"It is time to be a Cub," Counsell told reporters. "There is momentum happening here, and it feels close. And that means there’s a really exciting future ahead of us, and now it’s my job to be part of taking us to the next level. And that’s the plan."
Afterward, he met with Milwaukee media who'd covered him for years. There, he told reporters that he "underestimated" the emotions surrounding his exit for Chicago.
Here’s what Craig Counsell had to say about the emotion of the past week. pic.twitter.com/1M70dqGBqp
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) November 13, 2023
"It was 17 years," Counsell said. "I started to understand that. It’s a long time. It was people that mean a lot to you and will continue to. But that dynamic has changed. I understand it all. I understand the emotion.
"And I did. I underestimated the emotion of that all. And that’s probably why it hits you so hard."
Counsell took over as the Brewers' manager in 2015 and led them to the playoffs in five of the past six seasons. But he wasn't just Milwaukee's manager.
He spent six seasons with the team as a player. After he retired in 2011, he took a front-office position with the Brewers. He spent time as a radio analyst calling Brewers games. He was intertwined with the franchise for the better part of two decades. Then he up and left for a rival city in Chicago and an NL Central rival in the Cubs.
His conversation with Milwaukee media reflected the tension of his exit and took on the tone of a breakup of longtime romantic relationship.
"My time in Milwaukee working for the Brewers was wonderful," Counsell continued. "The experience that I think we’ve all had there — I think — has been pretty darn good. I’m thankful for that. Very very thankful for that. I hope we can all be thankful for that, really.
"It’s different now. I get it. I understand it. But I hope we can all look back on it and be very thankful for it."
Counsell shouldn't expect Brewers fans to show him thanks any time soon. The Cubs will visit the Brewers for the first time next season on May 3. That trip to Milwaukee in a Cubs uniform will not be a time for celebration, thanks or fond remembrance.
Brewers fans will surely let him know how they really feel from the 41,900 seats at American Family Field.