Could the face of the Brewers franchise from 2007-2020 actually be coming back to play in 2021?
Ryan Braun has been one of the most important Brewers in franchise history, and his career seemingly came to an unceremonious end. His contract was up at the end of the 2020 season and Braun had been thinking about retirement for a little while. But he never gave a firm answer, so he never got a firm send off.
To make the retirement issue even more complicated, the 2020 season was shortened and played in front of no fans. So if Brewers fans did see the last of Braun in a Brewers uniform last year, no one got to see it in person and give him a standing ovation and a send off into retirement. Love him or hate him, he deserves one last farewell from the fanbase.
Could Brewers fans end up getting that farewell tour? Ryan Braun is apparently taking batting practice and is still in shape.
Braun’s wife, Larisa, posted videos on her Instagram story of Ryan taking batting practice at a field in California.
In one of the stories, Braun said “Still got it” after one of his swings. Braun had said previously during spring training that he was keeping in shape, and that there was no reason to firmly decide on retiring, but he was strongly leaning there.
One other comment Braun has made before was that he wanted to see if the itch to play came back, and that’s part of the reason why he wasn’t officially retiring. He remarked that the itch wasn’t there in February and March, and given Braun’s history of not playing in many spring training games, that’s not surprising.
But the weather is heating up and the calendar has flipped to June. Braun has gone from just staying in shape, to getting back on the baseball field. Perhaps that itch is returning.
Does this mean Braun is going to come back to the Brewers? Not necessarily. He could very well stay retired and as a lot of former baseball players do, was just taking some swings for fun. However, it could also be in preparation for a return to Major League Baseball.
The truth is, none of us know right now. Braun is the only one that does. He’ll reveal what his plans are, if any, when he wants to. Another important thing to note is that Braun had said previously that he does not see himself wearing another team’s uniform, so if he wanted to come back and some other team was also interested, Braun wouldn’t sign with them.
The Brewers might have a need in the outfield with Lorenzo Cain on the IL and Jackie Bradley Jr. scuffling at the plate. Braun would be in one of the corners, but would most likely serve in a pinch hitter role most often if he were to come back.
It’s just more wait and see mode on Braun in his semi-retirement. Perhaps as we get closer and closer to the second half of the season, Braun will make his plans clear.