Posted by Steve
I wanted to wait until we heard from Braun before I passed total judgment. First, some other things that came out today:
-Apparently Lester Munson, ESPN’s legal analyst, said
Live Blog of the Conference: My reactions as it’s happening
-Initial Braun claims:
-Literally never gained a pound
-Didn’t get stronger or faster, has documentation
-Making all the claims we have: 9 years left on his contract, never failed a test, no performance indications, so much to lose, not much to gain
-“If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I would come right out and say it.” The unintentional part is what stands out. This has nothing to do with intent. In fact, if his argument was that he took it on accident, he’d have no case.
-Wow. He went into EXTREME detail about the day of the test and the process, including a near-comical description of FedEx. He really put the collector to task, naming all the stores in the area that were open until 9 p.m. and one that was open 24 hours. That’s what this has come to.
-Apparently the collector’s son is the third party involved here, as he was actually the one who observed Braun take the test.
-Awesome comment from Braun when asked about tampering. “I know what it’s like to be falsely accused of something, so I don’t want to falsely accuse someone else.” ZING.
-Not a timid press conference at all. He seems like he’s struggling to stay calm; you can tell he’s wanted to say this for a long time.
-Even discussing the detailed process once the sample gets to the Montreal lab
-He is considering legal options! Love it.
-He actually said he never has had an STD! On national television! Wow.
-“Sad and disappointing” that this has become a PR battle for MLB.
-The second questions is a fluff question: “How important is the support of your fans?” MOVING ON
-Can’t name the collector at this time because of his possible lawsuit
-Biggest challenge he’s ever faced in his life
-Baseball-wise, he’s very motivated by this. Sounds like he’s a good bet for another great season.
-Another fluff question: “What does it mean to have your teammates behind you?” How’s he supposed to answer that, other than with a fluff answer?
-He wouldn’t speak for the entire program (whether it’s flawed), only for his case, in which case he said it was (obviously) fatally flawed.
-“The players agreed to this system. MLB has agreed to this system. The system decided I was innocent.” All very valid points. MLB is honestly abandoning its own system by disputing its outcome.
Those were mostly the highlights, but that doesn’t capture the conference. It was the way he spoke. He was determined, and it looked like he was struggling to keep from losing his temper–the opposite of someone who is trying to hide guilt. You could tell he’s been waiting five months to say all this. He was composed, and went into great detail about the process, the day of the test, and what happened in the few days afterwards.
After taking a few minutes to gauge reaction from media/twitter, it seems Braun did quite well. Even curmudgeony Bob Costas was impressed with the conference on MLB Network. He believes there is true reasonable doubt. I’m actually surprised to hear that.
On twitter, there are a lot of, “Braun hit that one out like a hanging curve” types of comments. My thought is that it only would have been better if there was a door for him to kick down as he walked off the podium.
I’m feeling jacked, and I’m taking it as an omen that my Baseball Prospectus Manual and Baseball America Manual arrived during this post. Bring on baseball.