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Tag:Ryan Braun
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:51 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 2:27 pm
 

'Bet my life the substance never entered my body'

PHOENIX -- Ryan Braun was forceful, emotional and relieved during a 23-minute session with reporters here Friday in his first public comments since his positive performance-enhancing drug test was leaked in December and since he was exonerated and had a potential 50-game suspension overturned by an arbiter on Friday.

Some highlights from his 13-minute opening statement:

•  "This was the biggest challenge I've ever faced in my life."

•  "I've tried to respect the process even though the confidentiality of the process was breeched early on> I've tgried to handle the situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that's who I am and that's how I've always lived my life. If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I'd be the first one to step up and say, 'I did it.' By no means am I perfect. But if I've ever made mistakes in my life, I've taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart and would bet my life that the substance never entered my body at any point."

•  "I've always had tremendous respect for the game of baseball. ... I've put the best interests of the game ahead of the best interests of myself. And that hasn't been easy. There were a lot of times when I wanted to come out and tell the entire story and attack everybody as I've been attacked, as my name's been dragged through the mud, as everything I've ever worked for in my entire life has been called into question. There were a lot of times I wanted to tell the entire story but at the end of the day I recognized what's best for the game of baseball, and I put that ahead of what was best for myself."

•  "I could have never, ever envisioned being in this position today discussing this subject. ... I learned a long time ago to stop questioning life. I believe that everything that's thrown at us, there's a reason for. I've yet to figure out exactly what the reason for this is, but I don't question that."

•  "I've always stood up for what it right. Today's for everybody who has ever been wrongly accused, and for everybody who's ever had to stand up for what is right."

•  "In spite of the fact that there have been many inaccurate, erroneous and completely fabricated stories about this issue, I've maintained the integrity of the confidentiality of the process. There's never been a personal medical issue, I've never had an STD [sexually-transmitted disease], many of the stories that were erroneously reported by the intial network [were wrong], and it's sad and it's disappointing that this has become a PR battle and people continue to leak information that's inaccurate."

•  "We won because the truth is on my side. The truth is always relevant, and at the end of the day the truth prevailed. I'm a victim of a process that failed in the way that it was applied to me in this case. As players, we're held to a standard of 100 percent perfection regarding the program, and everybody associated with that program should be held to the same standard. We're a part of a process where we're 100 percent guilty until proven innocent. ... if we're held to that standard, it's only fair that everybody else is held to that exact same standard."

•  "This is my livelihood, my integrity, my character, this is everything I've ever worked for in my life being called into question. We need to make sure we get it right. If you're going to be in a position where you're 100 percent guilty until being proven innocent, you cannot mess up."

•  Braun said he was tested on Oct. 1, following Game 1 of the NL Division Series against Arizona in Milwaukee, and was made aware that he had tested positive on Oct. 19. At that point, he said, he had a conversation with representatives from the Players' Assn. "I expressed to them that I have not done anything that could have led to this test result. I told them, 'I promise you on anything that's ever meant anything to me in my life, the morals, the virtues, the values by which I've lived in my 28 years on this planet, I did not do this. I told them I would be an open book. I opened up my life to them. I told them I'd be willing and happy to take any test to prove to them I did not do this."

•  "At the end of the day, I know the truth. My friends, family, teammates, the Milwaukee Brewers organization and everybody who knows me knows the truth. At the point that I told the Players' Assn. about the positive test, they told me that the results were three times higher than any number in the history of drug testing."

•  "At that point I was able to prove to them through contemporaneously documented recordings that I literally didn't gain a single pound. When we're in Milwaukee, we weigh in once or twice a week. Our times are recorded every time we run down the line, first to third, first to home, I literally didn't get one tenth of a second faster. My workouts have been virtually the exact same for six years. I didn't get one percent stronger, I didn't work out more often, I didn't have any additional power or any additional arm strength. All of those things are documented ... if anything had changed, I wouldn't be able to go back and pretend like they didn't change."

•  "I explained I'm 27 years old, I'm just entering my prime, I have a guaranteed contract for nine years, I've been tested over 25 times in my career, at least three times this season prior to this test, and an additional time when I signed my contract including an extensive physical, a blood test, everything you can imagine. ... They said, 'That's great, we believe you, the other side believes you, none of this makes any sense to anybody.'"

•  "I want everybody to ask themselves this question: If you guys went to go get a physical, something you've done 20, 25 other times in your life, and three weeks later they came back and said you were terminally ill with a disease and it made no sense to you. You said I feel perfectly fine, nothing's different than it's ever been, this doesn't make any sense, and you look back at the process and you find that your doctor decided to take a urine sample home for a 44-, 48-hour period, and there's no documentation as to what happened, you don't know if he decided to leave it in the trunk of his car, where it could have been or what could have potentially happened to it during that period of time, I assure you that you would never go back to that doctor, and you would demand a re-test."

•  "Ultimately as I sit here today, the system worked because I was innocent and I was able to prove my innocence."

•  "I can't get into many details of the process because it's supposed to be confidential, and because of ongoing litigation, and because I'm considering all of my legal options, there may be some questions I can't answer."
Category: MLB
Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:49 pm
 

Thrilled Brewers back Braun, angry over leak

PHOENIX -- A happy bunch of Brewers had two overwhelming reactions while reporting to work and awaiting newly cleared slugger Ryan Braun's arrival Friday morning.

"I'm thrilled," outfielder Nyjer Morgan said. "It's like another Christmas."

"He's the best player in the league," outfielder Corey Hart said. "That's a pretty good pickup we got."

But they were far less pleased that Braun's ordeal became public in the first place, and that Major League Baseball essentially declared him guilty of steroid use in a statement saying the league "vehemently disagrees" with the arbiter's decision overturning his 50-game suspension.

"I was actually disappointed that major league baseball didn't wait until Ryan spoke before they said something," Milwaukee player representative Chris Narveson said. "We're definitely in favor of drug testing. We just want it done right.

"All it takes is one administrative mess-up to cause a fault. There can be a glitch in the system."

"It's a problem when you're guilty until you're proven innocent," veteran pitcher Shaun Marcum said. "In a court of law it's the opposite.

"It's a crappy situation. Ryan is one of those guys who's not going to do anything like that. The guy rarely puts alcohol into his body. I don't see him putting steroids in there."

The fact that what was supposed to have been a private process leaked to ESPN in December bothered all of them.

"The things that happened with this can't happen again," Hart said. "Because of what happened, I assume things will change. You hurt the reputation of one of the best players in the league.

"He'll get it back, but fans are always going to wonder. And it's not fair to him.

"He's one of the hardest working guys I've ever seen. For his reputation to be messed with, it's discouraging."

Brewers catcher Jonthan Lucroy said he was "disappointed" in MLB being so quick and so aggressive to publicly dispute the verdict.

"It's almost like they're being a sore loser," Lucroy said. "It was a low blow. I don't think it's right to do that. This is the process, and it worked in the player's favor one time and they react like that?"

Bottom line, the Brewers have their MVP's back and say they believed in him the whole time.

"I think it shows that if you come out and do it the right thing and tell the truth and be honest, it means something," Lucroy said. "The process worked."
Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:01 pm
 

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- As Ryan Braun reported to camp on Friday, Brewers player representative Chris Narveson said there have been issues with drug testing before in Milwaukee.

Specifically, with one of his own tests shortly after last summer's All-Star Game.

"Mine was more of a failure to communicate that I was getting tested," Narveson said Friday morning. "You're walking out the door in your street clothes an hour-and-a-half after the game and they come up to you and say, 'We forgot to tell you, you're getting tested.

"Errors like that can't happen."

Narveson added: "It's interesting, that's two instances for us with the same group of guys testing. .... One time can be an aberration."

The pitchers said that after he was collared late for testing when leaving the ballpark after already dressing, that they tightened things up "and tried to make sure they notified us" more promptly after a game.

Still, Narveson said the players firmly support drug testing. They just want things done right.

"I don't think there are flaws in the system," Narveson said. "If they follow protocol the whole way, I don't think we have an issue."

But he pointed out that the testers did not follow protocol with him. And, of course, a large part of Braun's dispute was that his specimen sat at the tester's home for more than 48 hours before being shipped where it was supposed to go.

"Ryan's sample sat for 48 hours," Narveson said. "Anybody can do anything [to] it."

Narveson and several Brewers also sharply criticized the system for allowing a leak in the first place. News of Braun testing positive for synthetic testosterone leaked to ESPN in December.

"Now that we look back, if this didn't get out, nobody hears about it," Narveson said. "Braun comes in today and there's four or five reporters saying, 'How was your off-season?'"
Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:41 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 8:44 pm
 

What Braun says could save his reputation

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Ryan Braun beat the rap. But how bad of a hit did his reputation take in the process? And will a murky guilt-by-association tag hover over the rest of his career?

Well, that all depends. And it depends enormously on what he says when he arrives in Milwaukee's spring training camp on Friday.

In a perfect world, Braun being exonerated by the ruling Arbitration Panel would be enough. And maybe that should be enough. We live by the justice system in this country, and shouldn't it be enough to believe that justice prevailed here?

Of course, in a perfect world, Braun's failed performance-enhancing drug test never would have leaked in the first place. Privacy is part of the joint agreement between owners and players, and the PED stuff is all supposed to remain behind closed doors until the very end of the process, if a player winds up being suspended.

In this case, it didn't. And we know Braun tested positive for an incredibly high amount of testosterone. Rightly or wrongly, Braun has been boxed in because things leaked. He's said he is looking forward to the time when he can talk.

Well, that time is now. It will be Friday in Maryvale, Ariz.

According to sources, he beat the rap on a "chain-of-command" issue. Arbiter Shyam Das broke the panel's 1-1 deadlock by voting to uphold Braun's grievance, that his urine specimen, given on a Saturday, should have been immediately delivered to Fed Ex for shipping. Because of the weekend, the collector was instructed to take the specimen home, store it in a safe place and ship it on Monday.

Though the specimen was said to have no name attached and to have been sealed three different ways, because it sat for more than 48 hours, Braun won his appeal.

So what will Braun say, now that he's finally free to talk?

I hope he has some honest, heartfelt answers. I'd like to think he'll have a solid explanation for his heightened testosterone levels.

If he simply plays dumb and says he has no idea what happened or how any of this could have happened, it's not going to be enough to regain his full reputation. Shouldn't be that way, but it is. Especially because he's flat-out said he looks forward to the day when he can explain some of this.

Until this, Braun was one of the game's shining lights. With his case now closed, I hope he gives himself the chance to remain one.

Posted on: December 16, 2011 6:50 pm
 

Love Letters: The Pujols, Braun and Santo Edition

Ho, ho, ho, and all we're missing is the 'w'! How ... how am I ever going to get to my Christmas cards when I'm so far behind on Love Letters? Let's go, Rudolph:

FROM: Shashi R.
Re.: Let's Ease Up on MLB negativity based upon Braun, Pujols stories

Mr. Miller,

Thanks for your piece on cutting out the negativity regarding baseball. When it comes to PEDs and professional sport, the entire public discussion has been a joke for years. Of course MLB players used and use PEDs, but for some reason fans, Congress, and, yes, the media have given the NBA and NFL a ridiculous pass for precisely the same behavior. For every 20 stories or comments regarding MLB and PEDs, maybe we see one story regarding the NFL. I'll never understand the hypocrisy. Either it's cheating or it's not, irrespective of the sport involved.

True dat. My feeling is, people have higher expectations for baseball because it means more to them. The old,"to whom much is given, much is expected." And I will say, that's not a bad thing either.

FROM: Charles S.

Hey a--hole, calling someone Mr. [Pujols] is s sign of respect and also because your colleague does not know Pujols personally and therefore should not call him by his first name. That's call being polite you jerk-off. Your colleague is not Pujol's best friend. Who the f-- are you to be castigating anyone for addressing someone like that. Didn't your parents teach you anything. Idiot.

Obviously, we need to tighten our firewall so Neanderthals like you can't get past it. You're going to lecture me about respect while using language like this? I fear for our country -- low-lifes like you bring our national IQ down with the monkeys. Go crawl back under the rock from where you arrived.

FROM: Mike M.
Re.: Pujols' arrival in Anaheim perhaps a call from higher up

Scott,

I love your work, but this one was way off base. Of course he left St. Louis for the money. It was solely about the money. That's common sense, Scott. He got offered 30 million dollars more than what the Cardinals offered, that's why he left. He didn't go there because God wanted him to. Please don't write dumb articles again. You're usually pretty good, but you're better than this one.

Come on now. What I wrote was, there were other reasons aside from money why Pujols left St. Louis. And after the 99.9 pecent that covers the finances of the deal, there are. Trust me.

FROM: Eric
Re: Pujols' move leaves St. Louis in shock, Anaheim in awe

"It was a performance that, on one stunning and astounding December day, instantly turned bittersweet for anyone rooting for the Cardinals." Good column, but you're accusing Cardinals fans of something that isn't true. Did yesterday's signing change the score of Game 3 and alter the final result of the World Series? I think Cards fans still recall that Game 3 and the rest of this series with good memories.

I'll give you that. But isn't it going to be bittersweet from the standpoint that as years pass and Cards fans revisit that game and World Series, it always will be accompanied by the sting of the way Pujols left?

FROM: John D.

Scott,

Grow up. We in St. Louis are not in shock. We have had a year to get used to the idea that Albert may be gone. Our franchise is far bigger and greater than any one player, even one who, had he stayed like Stan and Bob Gibson could have achieved true baseball immortality. In the end Albert will be associated with California, also known as the land of fruits and nuts. No offense. I have a feeling our little franchise here in St. Lou will do just fine! Let me know if you think otherwise, else I'll assume you agree and are just another coastal hack writer like so many others.

Inferiority complex? I never for a minute said or implied that your "little franchise ... in St. Lou" would not be fine. Last I checked, the Cardinals rank only second to the Yankees in World Series titles. I love that there's so much history that you only needed to refer to "Stan" -- no last name required. Everybody knows. Let me know if you think otherwise.

FROM: Jonathan G.

I assume you have received your ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame. I hope you will consider Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Don Mattingly, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell for enshrinement this year. I also hope my note finds you well and you have a Happy Holiday season.

Ballot is sitting right here on my desk. Each of those names will be strongly considered. I'll write about my Hall of Fame choices probably the week between Christmas and New Year.

FROM: Court
Re.: Finally voted to Hall of Fame, Santo a lesson on never giving up

Scott,

Beautifully written column about a beautiful man. You really did Ron Santo justice with this piece. To echo your comments about a man's greatest legacy lying in his ability to continue to teach from the grave, perhaps what Santo has taught us, or perhaps more accurately reminded us of, are those rare moments in life when all bitterness, jealousy, hate, and recrimination fall from our hearts and we accept everything as it is and as it will be, and our empathy for others, even the seemingly worst among us, runs thick and deep. A man who lives with passion and heart is never forgotten. Santo was surely one of those. My sympathies and joy to his family and the great city of Chicago.

Beautifully said, Court. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Posted on: December 10, 2011 9:04 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 11:39 pm
 

No messing around with baseball's testing

Teeth? You bet. Let's talk about teeth for a moment.

Ryan Braun testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, revealed by ESPN.com in a Saturday night bombshell and confirmed by CBSSports.com, is rough news for Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers and for major league baseball.

As Braun protests and the dispute is appealed, though, what we know right now is this:

Anybody questioning the bite of baseball's anti-steroid rules should question no more.

Never before, to our knowledge, has a standing Most Valuable Player award winner failed a PED test.

Quick reaction in the heat of the moment? Here goes:

1. Easy as snap judgments are, we need to momentarily hit the pause button until this appeal is heard and a decision is rendered.

2. If it is upheld, then just as Braun's stature will be diminished, baseball's should be elevated.

No player that we know of has ever had an appeal overturned. However, that doesn't mean it hasn't happened behind closed doors.

That a current MVP is busted for PED's and facing a 50-game suspension to start the 2012 season is further evidence that we're way past the Steroid Era. While it is naïve to believe the game is clean and nobody's doing that stuff anymore, at the same time, the fact that testing can work is exhibited by Braun's collaring.

If the failed test is upheld, there will be a lasting stain on Braun and an increasing strain on Milwaukee. Already, the Brewers are expecting to lose Prince Fielder this winter in free agency. That happens, and they lose Braun for the first 50 games of 2011, they are in deep trouble.

Braun cannot talk about his situation until after the appeals process is finished.

Right now, the baseball world awaits his explanation.

"I really hope Braunie's initial test is not upheld," tweeted Jimmy Rollins, the 2007 NL MVP, on Saturday night.

If it is, what I really want to hear is the next conversation between Braun and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, who finished second in last summer's NL MVP voting.

Recall, anyone?
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:15 pm
 

La Russa, Cards bullpen blitz Brewers in Game 5

ST. LOUIS -- You won't see this often. You surely would never see this in the American League. But as Tony La Russa continues to put on a managerial clinic in this NL Championship Series, he actually, for one fleeting moment, put more trust in starter Jaime Garcia's bat than in his arm Friday night.

Yes, St. Louis' 7-1 blitz of Milwaukee, which gave the Cardinals a three-games-to-two lead in this NLCS, was a strategist's delight.

Fourth inning, La Russa called for eight-hole hitter Nick Punto to drop a sacrifice bunt to set up a one-out, second-and-third situation for Garcia. It paid off when Garcia roped an RBI ground ball to shortstop.

Fifth inning, La Russa promptly yanked Garcia with two out, two on and a three-run lead so reliever Octavio Dotel could face slugger Ryan Braun.

It was textbook when Dotel fanned Braun in what turned out to be the game-changing -- game-saving? -- at-bat. And you could see why La Russa pounced to quickly: Braun now is 2 for 10 lifetime against Dotel with eight strikeouts.

Um, that's K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K.

And Braun is probably about a month out from winning the NL MVP award this year.

Chalk up another one for the Cardinals' overpowering bullpen, whose long relief in short order quickly has become the star of this NLCS.

La Russa has managed with a sense of urgency throughout this series, but it seemed even more on display in Game 5. Easy to understand why, too: When a series is 2-2, Game 5 always is pivotal. But with this thing headed back to Milwaukee, given the way the Brewers dominate at Miller Park, it was more pivotal than usual.

Had St. Louis headed to Wisconsin having to win both games in Miller Park, well, it would have been worse than bad cheese curds for the Cards.

But now the pressure is squarely on the Brewers.

St. Louis winning one of the next two in old Milwaukee? Now, that's doable.

Posted on: October 9, 2011 7:41 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 8:37 pm
 

Brewers too quick for Cards in Game 1 win

MILWAUKEE -- What would have happened had Cardinals manager Tony La Russa summoned reliever Octavio Dotel two batters earlier in the fifth inning?

We'll never know. But after the Brewers cracked open this NLCS with a 9-6 bruising of St. Louis, we do know this:

The manager who invented the modern day bullpen was a step too slow for Milwaukee's lighting-quick thunder. His team owned a three-run lead in that game-turning fifth, but Jamie Garcia had allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach base and Dotel was ready in the pen.

Up next: Ryan Braun, just 2-for-8 lifetime against Dotel (single, double) with six strikeouts.

Following Braun: Prince Fielder, also just 2-for-8 lifetime against Dotel (two singles) with six whiffs.

Yet La Russa made no move to the mound. Not even for a chat.

Quicker than you could scream "MVP!", as the sellout crowd chanted to near-deafening proportions, Braun sent the first pitch he saw from Garcia rocketing into the right-field corner for a two-run double.

Then, quicker than you could say "Beast Mode", Fielder sent the first pitch he saw screaming over the right-field fence for a two-run homer that lifted Milwaukee into a 6-5 lead.

It was as quick and brutal as a TKO.

How quick? Jerry Hairston Jr. doubled, Braun doubled and Prince homered on three consecutive pitches.

Not quick enough for you? Try this: As measured by ESPN Home Run Tracker, formerly Hit Tracker, the homer traveled at a speed of 119.2 m.p.h. off of Fielder's bat -- the highest speed for any homer hit in 2011.

So in their first League Championship Series game in 29 years, the Brewers set a land-speed record in leaping out to a lead over the Cardinals, in retaining their all-important home-field advantage and in convincing their fans that the World Series is just three victories from returning to Milwaukee for the first time since 1982.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com