Chicago Cubs’ Craig Counsell Blames Country Music Legend Garth Brooks for His “Horrible Batting Stance”

Most country fans probably didn’t know this, but Garth Brooks once moonlit as an MLB player. In fact, he once caused a player to swap up his batting stance.

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Craig Counsell may be the current manager for the Chicago Cubs, but in 2000, he had a bit of a dry spell. He was on the Los Angeles Dodgers for Spring Training. During this period, he struggled to hit a pitch, going 0 for 44 at the bat.

However, it was a run-in with Brooks that made him reconsider his career. Brooks may have been a major country singer by this point, but he also had baseball aspirations. Brooks tried his hand at baseball for both the Padres and New York Mets.

Ultimately, he didn’t fare so well at bat. Brooks went 1-for-22 playing for the Padres and a pitiful 0-for-17 while playing for the New York Mets, plus four walks. However, he played against Counsell during a game that proved to be influential.

“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,” Counsell told Marquee Sports Network.

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Garth Brooks Caused the MLB Player to Change His Ways

Counsell ended up breaking his no-hit streak. However, Brooks had other plans. He said, “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.”

Brooks ended up catching the hit in a moment that caused Counsell to reconsider everything.

“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.”

Counsell would go on to be an important member of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers.

[Photo by Andy Lyons]

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