"It is a very nice reminder," Stearns said, "that this is why we do it."
Stearns formally assumes GM duties on Monday, the day after the regular season ends. He was scheduled to return to Milwaukee on Wednesday to resume meetings with current club officials.
"What's most important for me is to get to know the guys in the front office right now," he said. "To make sure they have a comfort level with me, and that I have a comfort level with them."
Asked whether he'd already identified any current officials he'd like to retain, Stearns said, "I've certainly had conversations with a number of them, and a number of them will stay. I'm not ready to announce any of that at this point, but we'll get there."
What qualities is he looking for in his assistant GM?
"I'm working through that right now. Ultimately, you want someone who is going to complement your skill set and help run the front office from a variety of different aspects. I haven't settled on the exact structure of a front office, of the exact profile for each position, but as I get to know the current front office and the current people we have in place, it will help me shape which positions need what skill sets."
Both Stearns and Counsell continued to speak in glowing terms about each other. The two men first met the night before the Brewers formally introduced Stearns to the public, and they have been in contact via telephone every day since then.
"It's still a beginning, for sure, but every little bit helps at this point," Counsell said. "You're just getting to know each other, and talking about the thousands of things you need to talk about. You try to focus on the things that are timely right now. We'll have time for the other things, obviously, starting next week."
During his San Diego visit, Stearns also said individual hellos to Brewers players, but there was no formal team meeting. Mostly, he said, the chats were informal, get-to-know-you sessions, but he expressed open-mindedness about gathering input from players and coaches.
"I want to know what their thoughts are on the team, what their observations are about the organization as a whole," Stearns said, "and really, what they want me to know as I enter this job."