The Brewers have been suffering an extremely large amount of injuries early in the season, and the list just keeps growing, now with Omar Narvaez going on the IL.
The athletic trainer’s room inside American Family Field must be a pretty busy place. After Narvaez’s hamstring injury on Friday night, he became the 15th Brewers player to be currently on the injured list.
With players such as those on the IL, it’d be understandable if the Brewers had a tough time winning games, especially with the gauntlet of a schedule they’ve faced in April.
Despite all the injuries, the Brewers have played well thanks to the winning culture they’ve built in the clubhouse.
We’ve heard about it every now and then from players. That they enjoy the clubhouse atmosphere, enjoy playing for Craig Counsell, and have the most fun they’ve ever had in their careers here.
We’ve seen the fun part, watching these players in the dugout and on the field, and for the past few years every Brewers team has been pretty fun to watch and it shows that the players are having fun.
As fans, we don’t see the clubhouse atmosphere or what Counsell is like just in front of his players or what exactly the details of the culture the Brewers built are. Luke Maile gave a glimpse into that culture in his postgame interview on Friday.
Maile spent last year with the Pirates and the few years before that with the Blue Jays. The culture is one of the first things that stuck out to him as different than anywhere else he’s played.
The thing that stuck out is how he said there’s “no panic”. No matter what’s going on, even when things aren’t going the Brewers way, the clubhouse doesn’t panic. This gives a little better look at how Counsell has managed this clubhouse and the mentality he wants these players to keep.
The culture, as Maile stated, starts as the top with David Stearns. With the roster he built and the types of guys he’s brought in to the team, he helped mold the certain culture that he and Counsell wanted.
It’s not just about getting good players. It’s about getting good people.
Building a positive, fun, winning clubhouse culture is dependent on having good people, not just good players. Kolten Wong and Jackie Bradley, the Crew’s two big offseason additions this year, are both great people and great clubhouse presences to go along with being great players.
It’s the clubhouse culture that took Christian Yelich from not knowing a thing about Milwaukee when he was traded here in January 2018 to putting pen to paper to stay in Milwaukee for his entire career just two years later.
It’s this same clubhouse culture that has sustained this Brewers team through all the injuries in 2021. With the gut punches to the lineup and the pitching staff, this team should be struggling mightily with the lineups they are putting out there everyday.
But young players getting bigger opportunities are stepping up and filling the shoes of the injured players. Billy McKinney and Tyrone Taylor have filled in admirably in the outfield. Daniel Vogelbach has been earning more playing time. J.P. Feyereisen has stepped into a big role. Eric Lauer had a huge start against the Dodgers and pitched well.
That success isn’t by accident. It isn’t by luck. It’s by design. David Stearns has preached about having quality depth on his 40 man roster for years, and his depth is being put to the test right now. That depth is holding up and holding strong, and not just because of the quality of players, but also because of the culture they’ve built in the clubhouse.
This is a very likable Brewers team, and their strength in the face of adversity indicates good things to come when this group is healthy.