Got Boos? Craig Counsell's Cubs arrive for most anticipated series of Brewers season

Brewers fans have been looking forward to this day for a long time
May 12, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Chicago Cubs manager Craig Counsell (30) reacts against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 12, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Chicago Cubs manager Craig Counsell (30) reacts against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain. On Monday, as the Chicago Cubs come to town to open a four game series against the Brewers, one of those former heroes turned villains will make his return to Milwaukee.

Last November, in a sports betrayal not seen since Brett Favre wearing the purple and gold of the Minnesota Vikings, Craig Counsell shockingly left the Brewers and agreed to a record-setting contract to become the manager of the rival Chicago Cubs. In an instant, Counsell went from the revered, local hero from Whitefish Bay leading his hometown team to a traitor who quit on his team in the eyes of fans.

The anger and resentment over not only Counsell's departure, but how he departed and who he departed for, is going to manifest itself during this series. As soon as that move was made, Brewers fans instantly looked to the 2024 schedule and circled the date the Cubs would have their first series in Milwaukee, and that date has finally arrived. Memorial Day, a holiday, where everyone has the day off of work and a sellout is expected is the perfect opportunity for the Brewers faithful to make their feelings known.

It's widely expected that Counsell will be booed heavily during introductions, and during pitching changes, challenges, and anytime he comes out of the dugout. Despite his success as the Brewers manager, Counsell is going to be the most disliked man in the building.

Counsell called managing the Cubs his "dream job". Counsell didn't give the Brewers a chance to match the Cubs offer. Counsell had been thinking of leaving for two years. Counsell went 1-9 in his last 10 playoff games and couldn't get the Brewers out of the first round each year since 2018.

The energy in the building will be electric. It'll be a playoff atmosphere for a regular season game in May. Brewers fans have been anticipating this game for a long time and even though Counsell didn't think his relationship with the city of Milwaukee changed, the city of Milwaukee's relationship with Counsell changed.

Brewers fans haven't had this much negativity towards any single player or coach since Manny Machado in the 2018 NLCS after he kicked Jesus Aguilar. The boos for Counsell are expected to rival the boos Machado received that series, which were quite substantial. Machado still gets booed when he comes to town, although not quite as much.

For years, Brett Favre, a Packers legend, was booed heavily because he was in a Vikings uniform. The boos and hard feelings lasted a long time. There's quite a bit of overlap between the Brewers and Packers fanbases and the reaction to both is likely to be similar.

Some fans might be politely clapping, thankful for the years Counsell did give to the Brewers, but they'll be in the minority.

To make matters more interesting for this game, Counsell pushed his ace Shota Imanaga back several days just to make this start. Imanaga will be pitching on eight days of rest, twice as much as normal rest, which could mean some rust for Imanaga and his 0.84 ERA. The Brewers will be starting rookie Robert Gasser, who has been excellent in his first three starts.

Also, the Cubs will be arriving into town very late. Their Sunday Night Baseball game against the Cardinals was delayed a couple hours due to rain. They didn't land in Milwaukee until the wee hours of the morning. The lack of sleep and abnormal night routine could play a factor in Monday's game.

You can't predict much in baseball. One thing we can predict is that there will be a ton of booing directed at Craig Counsell in this game, this series, and every series against the Cubs for the foreseeable future.

The Brewers players and coaches themselves may not have any animosity towards Counsell, but they do feed off the energy from the crowd. The energy will surely be there. The fans want this game more than any other. The Brewers want to win tonight, like they do every night. It's their motto.

After the Brewers lost and the Cubs lost last night, Milwaukee enters this crucial four game set with a 3.5 game lead over the Cubs. The Cubs can either quickly close the gap or they can quickly fall very far behind in the race for the NL Central.

This rivalry has been kicked up a notch all thanks to Craig Counsell. Now, we're going to see just what that next notch looks like as there's a new villain on the North Side.