In a unexpected move, Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy announced his retirement Wednesday, citing his lost love for the game of baseball.
In a press conference held in Maryvale, Arizona, Lucroy, seated alongside Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin, said that he no longer has the burning passion that is required to play baseball day in and day out.
“Last year was the last straw for me,” Lucroy said. “I was on the fence about playing before last season started, but now I’m positive this game is not for me. I don’t have the urge to put on my uniform anymore. I’m just tired.”
Lucroy also talked about how the drama in 2013 with Ryan Braun deeply affected his morale and that he lost “faith in baseball” as a whole.
“I still consider Braunie a friend,” Lucroy said. “But the way he tricked and lied to us wore me out. He made baseball about him and nothing else. I just don’t want to deal with anything like that again. Baseball isn’t fun anymore, and that’s one of the reasons why.”
Attanasio was caught completely off guard by Lucroy’s announcement, and despite pleading with him to remain a part of the organization, he said he respects Lucroy’s decision.
“We are losing an All-Star and the best catcher in the game,” Attanasio said. “He cannot be replaced and there’s really nothing I can say to illustrate the value he has to our team. But when a player doesn’t enjoy coming to the ballpark every day, it’s time to call it quits. We wish nothing but the best for Jonathan.”
Brewers players weren’t immediately made available to the media, but a source close to the team said the spring training clubhouse was “quieter than a ghost town.”
Lucroy finished fourth in the National League MVP race in 2014, but his success wasn’t enough to make him stay.
“I want to spend time with my family and go hunting and fishing,” Lucroy said. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
When asked if he felt he was abandoning his teammates and putting the organization in a bad spot with such little time before the season commences, Lucroy acknowledged that to some, his actions may seem selfish.
“I mean, it’s selfish and it isn’t. I don’t want to play baseball anymore, so I would cause more harm to the Brewers than good by being on the roster.”
Melvin said backup catcher Martin Maldonado will take over as starting catcher, and discussions have already taken place about acquiring a backup.
Lucroy finishes his career with a .285 batting average, 59 home runs and 294 runs batted in.
April Fools, everybody. Be thankful Lucroy is here to stay.