Pat Burrell officially announced his retirement today, which led to shock throughout a baseball world that was pretty sure Burrell announced his retirement a while ago. Perhaps that’s how we’ll deal with February — the worst sports month of the year — looming around the corner. We’ll just recycle stories we already know under the guise of “official announcements.”

In other words, expect Barry Bonds to officially retire tomorrow, with Roger Clemens announcing his exit from the grand ol’ game on Wednesday.

Yesterday I went to a small gathering of Giants bloggers hosted by Wendy Thurm, who writes for Baseball Nation and Fangraphs. Wendy had Game 4 of the 2010 NLCS playing in her living room, and after Burrell caught a fly ball at the warning track the conversation turned to — what else? — “Pat the Bat” stories.

Was it a coincidence that Burrell dominated the conversation the day before officially announcing his retirement? Who knows…

I can’t post the most entertaining tale here, because the blogger who told the story probably wouldn’t want me to divulge the information he shared. Let’s just say it involved an inebriated Burrell turning on the charm for a woman old enough to be his mother.

That’s the kind of shameless man-whore you can respect: a Lothario who doesn’t see age … only curves.

Burrell’s unique. By most accounts he was pretty surly with the media, and he was effectively a slugging version of Larry Dallas from Three’s Company. However, fans love the guys. As a result, he gets away with the kind of behavior that would bury most other athletes. How?

1. He hit 292 home runs, finished with a career OBP of .361 and walks away with two World Series rings. Pretty solid.

2. He’s handsome. In fact, my youngest sister mentioned Burrell’s attractiveness and her desire to meet him at a bar in the Marina during the middle of the 2011 season … and it’s a moment that still haunts me to this very day. Burrell isn’t for everyone. But even with all the stories and rumors that follow Burrell, he still has many “fans” who’d like to experience their own “Pat the Bat” story. This wouldn’t be the case if he looked like Julian Tavarez.

3. He’s unapologetically skeezy. If Tiger Woods didn’t spend all those years pretending to be some great family man, nobody would’ve cared about Rachel Uchitel and Waffle Hut waitresses. In fact, Tiger’s promiscuity would be celebrated in some quarters. Burrell’s the anti-Tebow, so he gets to do whatever he wants. STD jokes are nothing more than harmless footnotes to a legendary career on and off the field.

Pat Burrell links: a tribute

Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff: Videos I shot in the clubhouse after the last game of the 2011 season captured an emotional Burrell and Huff. I thought Burrell might try to come back in 2012 … until I saw both guys get teary-eyed on Sept. 28, 2011.

Pat Burrell Is Retiring, But “The Machine” Just Might Live On: If you want to read dirty Burrell stories, these Deadspin links have you covered.

Pat Burrell Says Hello!: PARTY AT ZITO’S!!!

The First Iconic Pat Burrell Picture: Burrell probably has a huge copy of this displayed somewhere in his house. Like his bedroom ceiling.

Pat Burrell: The Most Average First-Overall Pick In Baseball History: Burrell isn’t a Hall-of-Famer, but he wasn’t a bust either.

Pat Burrell Retirement Link Dump: McCovey Chronicles summarizes Burrell’s career and retirement pretty well with this list (and not just because Grant linked to one of my videos).