Brewers

An Open Letter to Ryan Braun

Now up, number eight, Ryan Braun.

Home or away, the crowd was rarely louder.

Ryan Braun was walking to the plate.

It was always an event – hurt thumb, hurt back, beat up or not.

We were all waiting to hear the crack of the bat.

Because Ryan Braun was walking to the plate.

Down late? It didn’t matter.

No deficit was too much, no moment was too big.

When Ryan Braun was walking to the plate.

Five shots at the playoffs, a Game 7 with the Dodgers.

Three 90-win seasons, a Milwaukee baseball revival.

Through it all, Ryan Braun was walking to the plate.

Fourteen years. 7,340 times.

In Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati, and more.

Ryan Braun walked to the plate.

If this is it, thank you Ryan. 

***

It’s always been the Brewers and Ryan Braun. I was six when you first came up. Seven when you sent one to left and rounded the bases on the last day of the season, sparking my first real Brewers memory. This one is hit well. And its goooooooone! Ryan Braun! I still have the bobblehead. Right hand raised. Back to the playoffs. 

I was ten when you, Prince, and the rest won 96 games. When Gomez rounded third in the bottom of the tenth. The Brewers are moving on, on a base hit by Nyjer Morgan! Miller Park roared through the TV. It might have been louder a few days later when the Cards came to town. 

I was 17 when we made it back. Cain, Yelich, Harder, Jeffress, Shaw, Thames, and more. You were still the backbone. The leader. You were the Brewers, and the Brewers were you. Miller Park was loud in 2011. It was louder three years ago when Yeli transformed into a star. When Moustakas got one through and kept the machine rolling. When Machado walked to the plate. Moments that Milwaukee hasn’t seen enough of.

I was 18 when Yeli tied it and you won it. The camera had barely even gotten back to the plate before one pitch, one swing, one homer. This is way back! And that is your ballgame! Then you hit the grand slam. The one in St Louis. The one that helped keep the season alive. Yes! No further analysis was needed. 

If this is it, then thank you for the memories.

***

You made mistakes. Big ones. They’ll never go away, just like the boos that followed you from city to city. You were a fallen hero. But you were our fallen hero. You wore our name on your chest, and you wore it with pride. You wore it for fourteen years. Milwaukee wasn’t used to that. Not used to having someone step into the ring and fight alongside us. For relevance. For respect. 

You’ve ushered in a new era. Yeli stayed. Giannis did too. Counsell and Stearns are here to secure the future. None of this happens if you didn’t come first. I have never watched a Brewers team without Ryan Braun, and it will be a very long time before I watch one that isn’t positively impacted by what you’ve done. 

If this is it, I’ll miss you. I’ll be sad. It won’t be easy to know that Ryan Braun has walked to the plate for the last time. Over the last fourteen years, you’ve fought to prove yourself as a great player and a better man. You’ve fought to leave our team in a far better place than you found it. You’ve fought for us, and we will always fight for you. I just have one last request – don’t be a stranger. Come back, even if your cleats are hung up and your jersey is in the rafters where it belongs. It’s always been the Brewers and Ryan Braun, and that should never change.

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Looking for more great content on the Milwaukee Brewers? Follow me on Twitter at @MikeRegan09 and follow us at @WiscoHeroics1! To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest on all things Wisconsin sports, click here.

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