You know you are down bad as a professional baseball player when someone that’s not even a professional athlete full-time causes you to lose your job.
Current Chicago Cubs manager and former second baseman Craig Counsell was really going through it back in the year 2000. He would eventually become a very important contributor for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers (a team he managed from 2015 to 2023), but before that, he was just trying to make a roster.
In the year 2000, Counsell was with the Los Angeles Dodgers for Spring Training, and he was in the middle of a brutal hitting streak. I guess the better way to describe it would be a non-hitting streak, because he had gone 44 at-bats without recording a single hit.
During a recent interview at Chicago’s “Cubs Con,” Counsell was asked about his iconic batting stance, and the Cubs manager took his answer all the way back to his struggling hitting streak in 2000:
“I think we should acknowledge a story I told earlier about my 0-for-44 stretch. I was not a very good hitter, and I was at the time with the Los Angeles Dodgers and I was in spring training with them. I was on another ‘o’fer’ streak, couldn’t get any hits.
I hit a line drive in spring training, and I was like ‘yes, first base hit.’ I put my head down and started running to first. The crowd in Port St. Lucie goes crazy. They go absolutely crazy.”
Why was the crowd going crazy, you ask? Was it because Counsell’s line drive somehow had enough to get over the outfield fence? Did a home run end his horrible hitting streak?
Nope, they were cheering because a celebrity player who was playing left field for the New York Mets made a miraculous catch, as Counsell went on to describe:
“I look up and Garth Brooks had made a diving catch in left field to extend my ‘o’fer’ streak. I was released the next day. I had a talk with myself and said ‘why can’t you get any hits?’
And that led to me putting my hands way up in the air (for my batting stance). So I like to blame Garth Brooks for a horrible batting stance.”
The country music star tried out for the New York Mets and played with them on three separate spring training stints. As their celebrity player/outfielder, the “Friends in Low Places” singer went 2-for-42 batting, so he wasn’t all that great.
But hey, he did have a very exciting diving catch to keep Counsell’s horrible slump alive, and that counts for something right?
Baseball didn’t ever work out for Garth Brooks, but it certainly did for Craig Counsell. Once he switched his batting stance to have his hands absurdly high, he started absolutely raking.
His bat helped the Arizona Diamondbacks win the World Series in 2001, and like I mentioned earlier, Counsell went on to have a number of great years in the major leagues. And it was all thanks to Garth Brooks?
That’s at least what he says, and how he put it in the hilarious interview that’s linked below: