This title may be a little startling. I do not know if this is something we are all ready to hear, but it needs to be discussed. I firmly believe that this is the “White Beer Keg” in the room. Craig Counsell should gracefully leave the game of baseball. Not because of health, or contract reasons, but because of the other thing………deteriorating skills.
I love Craig Counsell. The man is one of the best spokespeople for all that is great about the state of Wisconsin. We all love seeing the hometown boy succeed. It is a gift that professional sports so rarely bestows on a fan base. As a kid in your backyard you always pretend to be playing in Game 7 of the World Series…..twice and winning both of them.
In 1997, Counsell sent Game 7 to extra innings and then scored the winning run. Do you know how many times I played out that scenario in my backyard? Alot of times.
Then in 2001 he was on the bases again in Game 7 in the bottom of the 9th, when Luis Gonzalez looped that ball over Jeter’s head.
Craig Counsell has had an amazing career, complete with TWO World Series rings. And he wants to be here!! We should be so lucky.
Two seasons ago I watched Mariners fans rejoice in the street, you know why? Griffey was coming back to Seattle. Ken Griffey Jr. was probably the greatest player I have ever seen play with my own two eyes. When I was just a boy, my dad took me and my cousin to see “The Kid” play in County Stadium. I will never forget it, before the game I went down by the Mariner’s dugout to try and get him to sign a baseball. I remember getting his attention and just tossing him this ball I had (this ball had nothing but Brewers signatures on it….whoops), he caught it and rolled it around in his glove a little bit. Then he tossed it back to me and said, “I sign balls after the game”. Well, I will cut the rest of the story because he did not come out after the game (but I should have known that, stupid kid). At the time I was mad, but now it is a great memory. I digress.
Griffey the Kid was already crowned as the key veteran who would be the key to bringing the team together. It worked!! The team had a really great season, but Griffey’s stats where nothing spectacular. It was more that he was there, rather than what he was doing on the field. In the off-season, the M’s decided to bring him back for another round. People rejoiced for the most part, but there were many who saw that he was fading away before their very eyes.
After a few weeks, the clubhouse had completely fallen apart. Griffey looked horrible at the plate and was spending no time in the field, DH only. It was sad to watch. When I was growing up, EVERY kid wanted to be Griffey. Or, you played his Super NES game, “Ken Griffey Jr. Baseabll”(I was always the Rangers when it was for keeps, don’t hate.) Watching this amazing hometown folk hero crumble…… was beyond painful. I don’t know that we will ever know all of the facts that led to his bitter exit from the game that he gave so much too. The break-up was even worse than watching his career slip through the hour-glass.
Why did I share that with you? I do not want to see something like this happen to Craig. See above, to know my love for him. It is painfully clear that his skills are just not there. Glovework is still fine, but he looks overmatched in every plate appearance. It looks like he can’t catch up to pitches. Bat speed is way down and he knows it. You can see it on his face. Even weak pitchers seem to dominate him. Now Craig never had much for power, but he always had a little pop to his bat. Don’t know that I have seen that since 2009. However…….
This team needs Craig Counsell around. There is no doubt about that, the guy is a natural coach. He is this teams Jake Taylor (see Major League if this reference did nothing for you). What I would love to see, is Craig gracefully walk away from the game and accept a bench coaching position with the organization. I genuinely believe that he will end up there eventually anyway. By doing something like this, you allow some of this spectacular young talent (Brandon Boggs and Erick Almonte (who I still believe in)) to play. Meanwhile, Craig is there after every AB to talk with them. This would not only be great for the team, organization, and Craig, but it would be great for us. Mariners fans are still grieving over how Griffey’s career ended. I DO NOT WANT THAT!!!! Not sure that I could handle another bitter break-up (lest we forget #4 and the pain his bizarre departure created).
I want Craig Counsell in this organization. Just not as a player. It is never easy to hear these things, and if Craig Counsell were ever to read this I would hope that he sees how I adore him.
His statistics this season have no place in this article. If you do not know what they are, you may look them up. However, they will not be provided here because I do not think it is important. My eyes can tell me more than numbers on a laptop screen. I see him struggle every time he steps in the batter’s box, even going back to spring training.
Am I alone on this? Maybe this is all completely unfounded. Perhaps I am nothing more than an ignorant aspiring sports writer, who is completely out of touch with Brewers fans. Perhaps. Something tells me probably not.
Oh, almost forgot. Brewers lost 7-6 today. Still mad, wrote this instead. We can talk about it tomorrow.