Chicago Cubs manager Craig Counsell 'thinking about the game' during first series against Milwaukee Brewers

The Chicago Cubs took on their NL Central rivals in the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday in the first of a three-game series.

There was an extra storyline in the Cubs' dugout to start this series, however.

Cubs' manager Craig Counsell managed most of Milwaukee's players as the Brewers' manager last season. Counsell, however, brushed any nostalgia aside.

He was thinking about the game at hand.

"We're trying to win a game," Counsell said after the game. "You're thinking about the game."

Counsell managed the Brewers from 2015 to 2023. Milwaukee couldn't come to an extension with Counsell after last season and Counsell tested the managerial market.

That landed him in Chicago, where the Cubs fired David Ross and replaced him by signing Counsell to a record contract.

That isn't to say Counsell felt nothing when he saw his old ball club.

"There are people there I have really good relationships with," Counsell said before Friday's game. "You miss people for sure."

However, keeping up with the people he misses isn't an easy task during the season.

Brewers manager Pat Murphy served as one of Counsell's coaches. Counsell hired Murphy in 2015, and Milwaukee promoted Murphy to manager after Counsell was hired by the Cubs.

The relationship between Murphy and Counsell goes back to Counsell's playing days, as Murphy coached Counsell at Notre Dame. 

"We don’t talk that much anymore," Counsell said before Friday's game. "It's because, as a manager, the thing that consumes you all the time is your team and making your team better. And Pat and I aren’t going to have that conversation right now."

The Cubs fell to the Brewers 3-1 on Friday, giving Counsell plenty to work on ahead of Saturday and Sunday's contests. 

But, while Counsell is thinking about the games at hand, he doesn't deny the other emotions surrounding the series.

"When you see people that you spent a lot of time with, absolutely, that’s what brings the emotion to it," Counsell said.


4 takes from the Cubs' 3-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers to open the 3-game series

Here are four takes from the Cubs series opener against the NL Central first-place Brewers.