MILWAUKEE — Craig Counsell has been a beloved player and the winningest manager in Brewers history, but now he will go to Milwaukee's arch-rival, the Chicago Cubs.
The move is an emotional one. Not just because Milwaukee is losing the most successful manager the team has had in victories and post-season games, but because he's headed to the Cubs. The rivalry spans generations.
The Cubs are hiring Counsell on a five-year, $8 million a year contract, officially making the 53-year-old the highest-paid manager in Major League Baseball. He will replace David Ross, who managed the Cubs from 2020 to 2023.
According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, Counsell's business impact was extensive if you consider his Whitefish Bay roots and that he also played for the Brewers. He was a prime candidate for sponsorship deals and giveback opportunities.
Capture Sports & Entertainment owner Chellee Siewert told the BizJournal, "I understand why Craig did this because it is, from a business standpoint, a significant amount of money. He’ll have a higher payroll and such, but very sad for the city of Milwaukee."
WATCH: Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio reacts to Craig Counsell's departure to Chicago Cubs
She says Counsell's impact will have to be recreated with a new manager, perhaps with new, unique branding opportunities.
"I think in the past the Brewers have done a good job of bringing in individuals that might not necessarily have years and years and years of manager experience," Siewert told the BizJournal. "I’m certain they’re looking for an all-around manager certainly that can produce on the field, but then what are their passions off of the field that they can integrate themselves into the community, both from a philanthropic standpoint but then also into the business community."
Although fans might feel betrayed by Counsell's departure to a rival team, Siewert said this could enhance the Brewers from a business standpoint. For example, there could be more sell-out games at American Family Field when the Chicago Cubs are in town.