Craig Counsell was just a kid when the Brewers went to the postseason 26 years ago. Now, he's going as a player.
"We're not going to stop talking about 1982," said Counsell, a 38-year-old Whitefish Bay native who drew a game-tying, bases-loaded walk in a 3-1 victory over Chicago Sunday at Miller Park.
"But, now we have something else to talk about, too."
"I'm happy for the City of Milwaukee, for the fans, for everybody in the Brewers' organization. We're not done, though. We have work to do."
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Corey Hart waved at three straight pitches from Cubs reliever Michael Wuertz. That brought up Counsell, who said he had been aggressive in previous at-bats against the parade of relief pitchers Cubs' manager Lou Piniella trooped to the mound in the game.
"I went up there thinking to be more patient," Counsell said. "He threw me a strike on the first pitch, but then I was able to draw the walk."
Counsell, who finished the season with a .226 batting average, also drew a walk before Ryan Braun's game-winning grand slam Thursday night against Pittsburgh. When asked how it felt to have authored two of the more overlooked grand slams in team history, the player known in the clubhouse as "The Grumpy Rooster" for his intense, somewhat dour manner, cracked a smile.
"That's kind of the way my whole career has gone," he said. "Get a walk, get hit by a pitch, hit a sacrifice fly ... At that point of the game, I think it kind of eased things on us a little bit
"It was a great win. CC (Sabathia) has exceeded expectations, which is hard to do in sports these days. Ryan (Braun) hit a huge home run. This past week has been a wild one, but we played good baseball."
Counsell has won World Championships with Florida (1997) and Arizona (2001). Would winning one in his hometown mean more?
"Any time you win one it's great," he said. "This was where I was raised, and where we live now. We have a way to go, though. This is the first step."
Two other veterans, who lack the long ties to Milwaukee and the Brewers, also contributed to the victory. Mike Cameron, whose base hit to lead off the first preceded a run of 18 straight outs for the Cubs, singled and scored on Braun's homer in the eighth.
"It feels good to make some good things happen," said Cameron, 35. "It came down to this last game, against a very good team, and we were able to do it.
"Now, we have to just keep at it. I've been telling the guys this whole week we have to keep battling. If you do that, good things will happen."
Second baseman Ray Durham, who came to the Brewers in a trade in July, had a key double to lead off the seventh inning and scored the first Milwaukee run on Counsell's walk.
"This is awesome," said Durham, 36. "To be traded and be able to contribute the way I did. It's great to have helped this team get back to the playoffs after so many years."
"This is the first step, though. Now we have to keep playing good baseball and try to bring even bigger things back home."