I heard talk about this on the drive home, about how Brewers fans should not be cheering a guy with a .151 average. They were saying how this performance would not be tolerated by fans of New York, Chicago, Boston, etc. It honestly made me sick to hear. Here's why I think Craig Counsell did deserve that standing ovation, and it goes beyond the fact that he is from Wisconsin or that it was his bobblehead day.
First of all, this is a guy who knows his role and is willing to fill it. He has been a backup ever since 2007, when the Brewers tried to use Counsell as one of two primary third basemen, and ended up bringing up Ryan Braun to fill that role for that season. After his original contract ended after the 2008 season when his option was declined, he could have chosen to go somewhere else to try and earn a starting job, but he didn't. He signed with Milwaukee, and has done that for the last three years. In each of those contracts, he knew that he would be a backup unless someone was injured, and he was willing to fill that role. You can argue whether or not he could have earned a starting job somewhere else, but the fact is that he stayed in Milwaukee with the full knowledge that his role would be as a backup and a fill-in starter. He accepted and embraced that role.
Here's the second point, and I'm going to make this point nice and clear. This is not New York, Chicago, Boston, or any other big market. This is Milwaukee. Maybe they wouldn't do this in any of those big markets, but why should we feel like that? Is it because they have had more success? Honestly, I don't care what the big markets would do. I love the way things are done here. It will sometimes drive us crazy, make us want to scream and argue. However, it's Milwaukee. As fans, we have our own traditions, our own values, and make our own decisions. This team and it's fans don't need to emulate the big markets. They need to find their own path. If that path involves doing things that the big markets wouldn't do, like cheering a guy with a .151 batting average, then let's do it. Let's give this team it's own identity, not one that's copied because we think it's the right way to do it.
You can argue whether or not he belongs on this team all you want. You can argue the point that I'm making here. It doesn't change the fact that people today recognized what Counsell has meant to the Brewers and were willing to give him some respect in what will probably be his final season in MLB. In the opinion of everyone who was cheering for him, he did deserve it.