A Closer’s New Career- Beer

Featured, Sports and Bets — June 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm by

Sometimes when discussing sports you mention a name and you wonder to yourself, “whatever did happen to that guy”?   Here in Baltimore, we have become so accustomed to Jim Johnson closing down the 9th for the Orioles, we forget about some of Baltimore’s closers of the recent past.  One of which was a young man named Chris Ray.  Don’t worry, its ok, Chris is alive and well.  The Baltimore Sun recently reported that not only is Ray still around, he seems to have found his true calling. Beer.

Ray, who last pitched in the major leagues in 2011, actually makes beer at the craft brewery he opened with his older brother, Phil, in Ashland, Va. And he loves it, loves it so much that he says he hardly misses the once-in-a-lifetime feel of climbing the mound and pumping gas past the best hitters in the world.

“A lot of guys in my situation, I think once they retire, they have no idea what to do,” the 31-year-old Ray says. “But for me, it was kind of liberating in a way.”

This isn’t your everyday fairy-tale ending, but it is certainly a happily-ever-after of sorts for the former Oriole.  It seems like it was a lifetime ago, but it’s only been 7 years since Chris Ray first stepped in to take over as the Orioles’ closer,  and had a phenomenal year . Ray probably should have walked away for a new profession then, but instead he hung around for a poor 2007,  which didn’t get any better as it ended with Tommy John surgery, followed by a couple of trades, and a few minor league contracts. It had to be rock bottom going from one time up-and-coming closer to being shipped off for Kevin Millwood.  “No seriously you traded me for who?? Kevin Millwood?”  Honestly, there are just certain punches no man can get up from, and I think for most people this downward spiral of a Kenny Powers-like career is one of them. I don’t think I could have blamed Ray had he laid on the canvas waiting for the 10 count. He didn’t though, he got his ass up and took the stacks of cash he saved from those guaranteed baseball contracts, bought a brewery, and never looked back. I wish every washed up athlete story ended as gracefully as Rays’.  O.J. Simpson or Chad Johnson could have used a page or two out of Ray’s playbook.

Check it out.  Center of the Universe Brewing.          http://cotubrewing.com/

chris ray

“Screw the fastball, give ’em a summer ale.”

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