WATCH: Craig Counsell booed in first return to Brewers stadium since leaving to manage rival Cubs

MLB

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The Chicago Cubs on Monday visited Milwaukee to face the Brewers on the road for the first time this season. Aside from the implications for the National League Central race, the series at American Family marked the return of Craig Counsell. 

Counsell managed the Brewers for nine largely successful seasons and along the way established himself as one of the most highly regarded managers in the game today. Counsell’s contract with the Brewers ended after last season, and he wound up signing a five-year contract with the Cubs that’s worth more than $40 million and made him the game’s highest-paid skipper. No fan base would be happy about such a jump, but that Counsell made the leap to the Brewers’ most loathed rival compounded matters. 

Given all that, it’s no surprise that the home crowd in Milwaukee largely expressed their displeasure with Counsell’s decision on Monday prior to first pitch. Here’s a look and a listen (skip to the 1:18 mark if you wish to get straight to the point): 

It’s hard to call Counsell’s departure acrimonious, but there was indeed some level of acrimony in attendance for Monday’s game. 

Counsell’s return to Milwaukee naturally presented an opportunity to reflect on his Brewers tenure and his decision to end it. “I think when you’re at a place for a long time,” Counsell said in the visitor’s dugout, ” you just naturally think about, like, what if I did something different?” 

Counsell went on to cite the departure of lead executive David Stearns, who initially hired Counsell as manager, to step down and eventually leave to run baseball ops for the Mets as a factor in his decision. 

As for Counsell’s new gig in Chicago, his Cubs entered Monday with a record of 27-26 and trailing the Brewers by 3 1/2 games in the NL Central. 

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