MILWAUKEE -- It seems Craig Counsell's managerial philosophy was cemented long before he ever managed. Prince Fielder, a teammate of Counsell's the last time the Brewers made the National League Championship Series in 2011, returned to throw a ceremonial first pitch before Saturday afternoon's Game 2 against the Dodgers, and
MILWAUKEE -- It seems Craig Counsell's managerial philosophy was cemented long before he ever managed. Prince Fielder, a teammate of Counsell's the last time the Brewers made the National League Championship Series in 2011, returned to throw a ceremonial first pitch before Saturday afternoon's Game 2 against the Dodgers, and he was asked how Counsell influenced his career.
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Before he could get the words out, Fielder chuckled.
"There was one time that I was thinking about bunting," Fielder said. "He told me if I bunt, he'll punch me in the face."
"He helped me out a lot when I was playing with him, so I could imagine him being a coach," Fielder said. "His attitude was always good for these situations, especially tense situations. He was always calm. I think he's doing a great job."
Fielder, whose career ended prematurely in 2016 because of a serious neck injury, said he is physically well, as long as he sticks to "anything that doesn't involve running into anything. As long as my neck doesn't go hard back and forth, we're good. Safe stuff, I guess."
Like ceremonial first pitches.
Saturday was Fielder's second pitch Milller Park this season. He threw one alongside former Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and outfielder Geoff Jenkins in July, when Fielder, Melvin and the late Harry Dalton were added to the Brewers' Wall of Honor outside Miller Park, and Jenkins was inducted to the Brewers' Walk of Fame.
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But that time, Fielder stood off the mound. He was planning to go the full 60 feet, six inches on Saturday.
That was Fielder's first visit back to Miller Park since the Brewers' 2011 playoff run ended with a loss to the Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS. The enduring image from that day was his 6-year-old son, Jadyn, crying in the clubhouse. Fielder sent him to Uncle Rickie (Weeks) for consolation while addressing reporters about the imminent end of a Brewers career that began when Milwaukee made him the seventh overall pick in the 2002 Draft.
Fielder signed a $214 million contract with the Tigers during the following offseason.
"It was a fun year, but obviously any time the year ends before you want it to, it hurts a little bit," Fielder said. "I just remember it as a good year. My family was here. Everybody was having a good time. We had T-Plush [energetic outfielder Nyjer Morgan]. It was sad when it ended."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.