Although he hadn’t signed anywhere or played this season, Ryan Braun was still an available MLB player as of this morning. His bat was nearly league average last year in the pandemic season, and if some injury chips fell a certain way, you could squint and see how he might have resurfaced as a bench option for the Brewers, if not another team.
But that didn’t happen, and it isn’t going to happen now. So Braun, the 14-year veteran and long-time Brewer, has officially announced his retirement:
Today, more than 14 years after I first took the field as a Milwaukee Brewer, I’ve decided to retire. While it’s impossible to summarize my emotions, what I feel most is one, simple thing – gratitude.
I just wanted to take a moment to say ‘thank you’.
– Ryan Braun pic.twitter.com/pQxuW9qk1z
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 14, 2021
Although there was a good bit to respect about Braun’s performance, I suspect for many of us he never quite got over the hurdle of having been a busted PED user who not only won an MVP on the back of what might have been juiced performance, but also reportedly lying about it to smear a sample collector who was just trying to do his job. Braun was the most booed player at Wrigley Field during the last ten years, and it wasn’t just because he always seemed to crush the Cubs there.
There’s a part of me that is sad to see Braun go – villains are, in a weird way, a fun part of fandom – but I suppose he was already gone this year. I never got to boo him one last time …