Craig Counsell says Cubs job presents ‘new challenge’

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Nearly 24 hours after the shocking news emerged that Craig Counsell had been named manager of the Chicago Cubs, the former Milwaukee Brewers captain made himself available Tuesday for a short question-and-answer session with a select group of local media outlets, including the Journal Sentinel.

Counsell, who reportedly received a record five-year, $40 million contract to replace David Ross in the home dugout at Wrigley Field, made his intentions clear early on.

This was an opportunity for him to reach out and explain his decision to fans and not rehash every detail that led him to the point of leaving the Brewers, although Counsell did provide some brief glimpses into the process.

“My goal here is really to say thank you to the Milwaukee community,” Counsell said.

Counsell is scheduled to be introduced as the Cubs’ new manager on Monday in Chicago, and more details could become known at that point.

Meanwhile, here’s what the advisor had to say.

Many Brewers fans are hurt by your decision. What do you tell them?

consultation: “I think as I was going through this process, it became clear that I needed and wanted a new professional challenge. And at the same time, look, I’m grateful to be a part of this community. And hopefully that will continue, because it has nothing to do with baseball, that part of it. “I’m looking forward to being part of a new community and hopefully making a good impact on our community as well. But as I went through it, it became clear that I needed a new challenge.”

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Knowing that all of this is still very new, do you plan to continue living in Whitefish Bay in the future?

consultation: “It’s very new. In the near term, I don’t expect anything to change for me in this regard.

The shock of this is not that you left the Brewers, it’s that you left the Brewers for the Cubs of all teams. Can you explain your thinking?

consultation: “When you look at my decision, you think about a number of things, and the hard part about this industry is that it’s one job in 30 places in 30 different cities and I still maintain what I think is a great situation (family-wise). I’ve been able to do “So, at the same time, I got a professional challenge. But the proximity made it attractive.”

However, how hard would it be to pull the trigger and finally make that move considering how much better you were at the Brewers?

consultation“Yesterday was an emotional day. First I was sad, then I was happy, then I cried, then I laughed. So, I went through all of that. It’s all the things that really make a full day. So, that’s the immediacy of it. I mean, there was a lot yesterday.” “I understand that it was a decision that affected a lot of people. I take that very seriously. And of course, that came into the equation.”

What do you think your legacy will be with the Brewers?

consultation“I mean, look, I’m grateful for the time I’ve had here. My relationship with people doesn’t change in my eyes. I’ve developed really beautiful, strong relationships that, if anything is strengthened over an emotional period of time, those relationships will last forever. And you know, that’s your legacy for me.” Mine, and it’s your relationships. And so, those mean the world to me, and they’re strong and deep. And I’m proud of those. That’s what meant everything to me in the phone calls with the players yesterday. That’s what’s important to me. And the rest, you know, is just kind of under the line.

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Other than proximity, what else do you like about your new situation?

consultation: “I mean, it’s just a challenge for me with an organization that’s in a very good position and just trying to do some special things. So, that part of it is definitely exciting and enticing. And, you know, it’s a challenge. It’s going to be difficult. It’s scary. Because change is scary. But in Sometimes you need to push yourself out of that comfort zone, and that’s what makes it exciting.

Have you allowed yourself to think ahead to next May 27, when the Cubs come to American Family Field for the first time?

consultation“I’ll give you another chance (to ask) then.”

When you called Mark Attanasio on Monday morning, did that mean sternly telling him you were leaving?

consultation“Yes. Obviously we had conversations before that.”

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How important is it to you to reset managerial salaries in the major leagues?

consultation: “Look, I just wanted the market to decide. That’s all.”

Can you address whether your relationship with management or ownership has become ever more strained over the past few seasons?

consultation“I don’t agree with that. I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think very strongly of Matt Arnold. I think very much of David Stearns. I think very much of Mark. Mark was incredibly graceful in our last phone call together. I have no feelings.” “Tough. They had to make a decision and I had to make a decision. That’s all.”

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Do you expect to bring anyone from your employees in Milwaukee to Chicago with you?

consultation“Obviously I should have reached those decisions but I didn’t. I’m now in a phase of hello and goodbye.”

Did you get out and about at all today? What were people’s reactions if you had it?

consultation: “I’ve been pretty humbled by people’s comments, for sure. I’m grateful for that. Your connection to people doesn’t change — I don’t plan on changing any of that, and your connection to the community shouldn’t change because of this. Because that part, I know it’s because of baseball.” Maybe people know who I am. But that has nothing to do with my relationship with the community. I think it’s separate. I know the fandom says it’s not, but I think it’s separate.

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