Counsell retires, takes front office job
The decision to retire was not a difficult one for Craig Counsell. Likewise, the decision to hire the cerebral utility man for the Brewers front office was not a difficult one for Doug Melvin.
Tuesday, after 16 seasons in the Major Leagues as a player, Counsell simultaneously announced his retirement as a player and his acceptance of a front-office position as Brewers Special Assistant to General Manager Doug Melvin.
"His knowledge of how to play the game along with his work ethic and passion to see the Brewers succeed will now be utilized and welcomed by our front office," Melvin said of Counsell at an afternoon news conference. He is going to roll up his sleeves and we're going to put him to work right away."
Counsell, 41, says he knew that it was time to hang up his spikes after struggling through the 2011 campaign in where he hit a career-low .178 batting average which was marred by a 0-for-45 slump that lasted nearly two months. For Counsell, the decision to retire was not a difficult one.
"It's easy when you've got more softball teams wanting you than baseball teams, Counsell self-deprecatingly deadpanned. "And those softball teams want to DH for you."
Counsell follows in the footsteps of his father, John Counsell, who worked in the Brewers front office in the late 1970s and '80s.
"There is a sense of loyalty for me here," Counsell said. "It allows me to be a part of this organization. It allows me to stay in the city that's home to my family."
While many "Special Assistant" jobs held by former players are merely ceremonial, Counsell says he plans to be in the office every day learning the ropes. "I've got a lot to learn," Counsell said. "That's what I want to do, I really want to learn."
Besides, "he'll find out that's not how we work around here," assistant general manager Gord Ash added of the question of Counsell's duties, confirming that he will indeed be a very significant part of the Brewers brain trust.
Class act Mr. Counsell, I loved having him on the Brewers wish him nothing but the best.
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