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Ryan Braun, all but retired, invites you to a drive-in movie

Ryan Braun follows through on a home run swing
Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun watches his grand slam off Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tyler Mahle on Sept. 25, 2019.
(John Minchillo / Associated Press)

Ryan Braun called the other day, but only after adjusting the time of the call to accommodate the nap time of his 11-month-old son. His Milwaukee Brewers will be playing in Cincinnati next weekend, but, in the first free summer of his adult life, Braun will be hosting a drive-in movie in Malibu.

“I couldn’t imagine being happier or enjoying life more,” he said.

Braun, 37, a six-time All-Star from Granada Hills High, appears as close to retirement as one can get without saying so. He chose not to play this season, to stay in Southern California with his family.

“First spring break I can remember having in 20 years,” he said.

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Team Israel and Team USA checked in to see whether he might consider playing in this summer’s Olympic Games, for which Israel already has qualified and the United States still hopes to gain a berth.

“I have had conversations with them,” Braun said. “With where I’m at right now in my life, it just doesn’t make sense for me.”

From a certain perspective, the Angels have bright spots when it comes to starting pitching and their bullpen, but there’s room for improvement.

So why the hesitation in announcing his retirement?

“I’m strongly leaning toward being done with baseball, but I have not officially made my mind up yet,” he said. “I don’t currently have interest in playing, but I just feel like you could always push that decision back. You never know where life will take you.

“It’s mostly enjoying the family, enjoying the kids, and putting off that decision until I’m sure about it.”

That drive-in movie is a May 22 showing of “Major League” at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, a benefit for the California Strong foundation launched by Braun, two other major leaguers from the area — Mike Moustakas and Christian Yelich — and former Rams quarterback Jared Goff, now with the Detroit Lions. Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn in the movie, is scheduled to be in attendance.

The foundation started as a way to help victims of twin tragedies in November 2018: the Woolsey fire, which roared from Simi Valley to Malibu, and the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks. Since then, the foundation has raised $2.6 million, with grants distributed to 1,400 families.

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Amid the pandemic of the last year, the foundation has donated 15,000 face masks to police officers and veterans, 100,000 meals to families in need, and $90,000 to fund services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, UCLA and UC San Francisco.

Manager says that because Albert Pujols wouldn’t consider retirement until after the season, it was hard for the Angels to resolve the issue gracefully.

“The goal is to do it in perpetuity,” Braun said. “Unfortunately, and inevitably, we continue to have natural disasters and tragedies occur in the state of California. As we got started on this project, it was initially in response to the shooting at Borderline and the Woolsey fire. We realized we could have a far greater impact that we had ever dreamed of having.”

Braun said he keeps up with baseball mostly through box scores and video highlights; his three kids keep the televisions tuned to cartoons. He keeps up with his hometown Dodgers enough to advise fans agitated by their recent slide into third place to just chill out.

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“I think they should just look back at last year’s team and know that, over the course of a long season, teams end up where they’re supposed to be,” he said.

“The Dodgers, obviously, are at least as talented as any other team in the sport, if not more so, and talent wins out in the long haul. ... We’re still very early in the season, even if it might not feel like it. You see all types of anomalies. But I’m sure the Dodgers will be just fine over time, as long as they’re able to get and stay relatively healthy. On paper, they’re still the best team in the sport.”

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VIDEO | 06:26
LA Times Today: Ryan Braun, all but retired, invites you to a drive-in movie

Watch L.A. Times Today at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News 1 on Channel 1 or live stream on the Spectrum News App. Palos Verdes Peninsula and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on channel 99.


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