Sunday, May 20, 2018
Sports

'The truth is on my side,' Braun says

PHOENIX — Ryan Braun stood a few feet from the batter's box Friday and hit back at those he believes tarnished his name.

Last year's National League MVP insisted he always believed his 50-game suspension for a positive steroid test would be overturned and he would be able to suit up on opening day for the Brewers.

"We won because the truth is on my side," he said. "The truth is always relevant, and at the end of the day, the truth prevailed."

Less than 24 hours after his suspension was overturned by an arbitrator, Braun professed his innocence while questioning the system that allowed him to be suspended for failing a test he took after a playoff game Oct. 1.

"There were a lot of times where I wanted to come out and tell the entire story, attack everybody as I've been attacked, as my name has been dragged through the mud, as everything in my entire life has been called into question," said Braun, a former star at the University of Miami. "But at the end of the day, I recognize what is best for the game of baseball. I can't ever get that time in my life back."

Soon after thanking teammates and fans, Braun, 28, expressed disappointment that the confidentiality of his urine test was broken. ESPN first reported his failed test for a high testosterone level in October. He called the reports "inaccurate, erroneous and completely fabricated."

Braun rarely looked at his notes while laying out a time line of events that led to his suspension.

On Oct. 19, Braun learned his sample tested "three times" the level of any previous specimen, which he said confused him. He said he began "a humanistic" defense by showing documentation he never gained a pound, his running times did not improve and he didn't get stronger.

"I truly believe in my heart, and I would bet my life, that this substance never entered my body at any point," he said.

Braun said the urine test he provided Oct. 1 was not delivered to FedEx until Oct. 3. Baseball's drug agreement calls for samples to be delivered on the day they are collected, and that was the basis for the suspension being overturned.

"There are a lot of different things that could have possibly happened," Braun said. "There are a lot of things that we heard about the collection process, the collector and some other people involved in the process that have been concerning to us. But as I've dealt with the situation, I know what it's like to be wrongly accused of something. So for me to wrongly accuse somebody wouldn't help."

Braun said he was a "victim" of a "fatally flawed" testing system and there is inherent presumed guilt within the process.

"As players, we're held to a standard of 100 percent perfection, and everybody else associated with that program should be held to the same standard," he said. "We're a part of a process where you're 100 percent guilty until proven innocent. It's the opposite of the American judicial system.

"This is my livelihood. This is my integrity. This is my character. This is everything I have 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 innocent, you can't mess up."

Soon after Braun's news conference, Major League Baseball released a statement defending the testing program.

"Our program is not 'fatally flawed,' " executive vice president Rob Manfred said. "Changes will be made promptly to clarify the instructions provided to collectors. Neither Mr. Braun nor the (players union) contended in the grievance that his sample had been tampered with or produced any evidence of tampering."

The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, David Howman, said under his agency's rules, Braun would have had to show the departure from the rules was related to the test result.

Sizemore out: Indians centerfielder Grady Sizemore has a strained lower back and will miss the start of the season. There is no timetable for his return. Sizemore was hurt a few weeks ago while working his way back from knee surgery.

Orioles: Second baseman Brian Roberts, who didn't play after May 16 last season because of concussion symptoms, partici­pated in light workouts on the first full day of camp. His status for opening day hasn't been determined.

Nationals: Star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said he wants the framework of a contract extension completed by today or he won't discuss one during the season. He has two seasons left on a $45 million, five-year deal.

Comments
Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

TAMPA – After spending four years at USF, Willie Taggart was used to the reception he'd get as a head football coach in the Tampa Bay area.But coming back as the new coach at Florida State, Taggart said, was different."Pretty cool," Taggart sai...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Lightning-Capitals: In playoffs, Lightning and its town become one

Lightning-Capitals: In playoffs, Lightning and its town become one

TAMPA — The Lightning is a win away from a trip to the Stanley Cup final. Its Game 5 win Saturday, to take a 3-2 lead over the Washington Capitals, was another chapter of a story being written on the fly."Think about Game 1 in New Jersey,"...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Lightning-Capitals: Familiar ground for Capitals as they face elimination

Lightning-Capitals: Familiar ground for Capitals as they face elimination

TAMPA – Capitals G Braden Holtby basically summed up playoff life for the Capitals after Saturday's Game 5 loss in the Eastern Conference final when he said the team never makes it easy for itself."No, we don't," coach Barry Trotz agreed Sunday...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Lightning-Capitals: Lightning keeps Alex Ovechkin under control

Lightning-Capitals: Lightning keeps Alex Ovechkin under control

TAMPA — Alex Ovechkin headed toward the Capitals' locker room two hours before the start of Saturday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final with the swagger of an elite athlete that suggested he was about take over a game and make life misera...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo again as “the opener”

For starters: Rays at Angels, with Romo again as “the opener”

UPDATE, 2:27: If the Rays win today, it would be their first four-game sweep since Sept. 20-23, 2013, vs. Baltimore and first on the road since Aug. 16-19 here at Anaheim. … It also would be the first time they swept back to back series on the ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Academy at the Lakes (24-4) vs. Lake Worth Christian (10-3)Where: 11:50 a.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got thereAcademy at the Lakes defeated Seacrest Country Day 11-1, defeated Canterbury 5-1Lake Worth Christian defeated...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Published: 05/20/18

Captain’s Corner: Red grouper fishing continues to be good

Red grouper fishing continues to be steady in depths of 100-120 feet. Large bait stacks are holding a fish or two, but larger concentrations are on very small rolls and potholes in those depths. Zooming in on the bottom 10-15 feet of the water column...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Lightning defeats Capitals, can clinch Stanley Cup berth in Game 6

Lightning defeats Capitals, can clinch Stanley Cup berth in Game 6

Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette (13) celebrates his first period goal after beating Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) 29 seconds after the start in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Saturday...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18