GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Craig Counsell remembers vividly the tastiest beer ever to touch his lips, and you might be surprised to hear it didn't flow after either of his winning World Series Game 7s.
Instead, Counsell cracked that brew on a bus somewhere between Chandler, Ariz., and Tucson after playing in his first big league Spring Training game. Counsell, an 11th-round Draft pick of the Rockies in 1992, was one of the Minor Leaguers on loan to the Major League team, and Colorado happened to be playing Counsell's hometown Brewers.
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"I remember when Robin Yount was at second base and I was playing shortstop," said Counsell, who grew up in suburban Milwaukee. "I'll never forget it."
Ditto for the postgame refreshments.
"The best beer I ever had in my life was on the bus after that game," Counsell said. "I had a couple of cheap hits. That was the tastiest beer I ever had in my life."
Why was Counsell talking about cheap beer, one week before his first Opening Day as a Major League manager? The topic of Minor League loaners had come up after 18-year-old shortstop Gilbert Lara, Milwaukee's No. 6 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, had taken an at-bat during Sunday's loss to the Indians.
Lara grounded out, but he had an experience to remember.
"It's largely player development who chooses who comes over," Counsell said. "Whether they get in the game is a little circumstantial. They probably come over planning not to get in the game, just to be sure we have extras. But some days, the way it works, there's at-bats for them.
"As much as anything, it's a reward for all the work that [they] put in over there. And it is a step for them. It's not a regular-season Major League game, but it's still something different. For kids who are putting in a lot of time, trying to get better, it's a little carrot for them.
"Usually it's a day where they get to sit in a Major League dugout and interact with the Major League players and see the game up close. I think that's great for them. It tells them it's not that different."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.