Braun showed up at Maryvale Baseball Park the next day for a pre-arranged press conference and came out swinging. He staunchly maintained his innocence, criticizing what he called "a fatally flawed" process.
"If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I'd be the first one to step up and say, 'I did it,'" said an emotional Braun. "By no means am I perfect, but if I've ever made any mistakes in my life I've taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point."
"I've always stood up for what is right. Today is about everybody who's been wrongly accused, and everybody who has had to stand up for what is actually right. Today isn't about me; it isn't about one player. It's about all players."
While not mentioning Laurenzi by name, he openly questioned the collector's process and motives, suggesting that it "would be extremely easy" for him to tamper with the urine sample. It was a compelling performance in which Braun made it clear that in his mind he was not exonerated merely on a technicality.
Braun's accusations also prompted Laurenzi to issue a statement through an attorney defending himself: "This situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family. I have worked hard my entire life, have performed my job duties with integrity and professionalism and have done so with respect to this matter and all other collections in which I have participated."
In the days and weeks after winning his appeal, amid skepticism from many baseball correspondents across the country, Braun often alluded to "the real story," suggesting people would be convinced of his complete innocence if they knew all the details. He refused to divulge that inside information, however, saying it wasn't in the best interests of the game to do so.
"The people that are close to me _ my friends, my family _ know the truth," Braun told reporters one day after a spring training game.
Braun went on to another big year (.319, 41 homers, 112 RBI, 30 steals) that he considered vindication for his pre-season drug saga, the insinuation being that he didn't need to cheat to be an elite player. He passed all of his drug tests - each player is subject to at least three random tests - and seemed free and clear of further MLB prosecution.
Then came the Biogenesis investigation.
In January of this year, the Miami New Times _ a small weekly publication _ published documents it had obtained from an employee of Biogenesis, a supposed anti-aging clinic in the Miami area, indicating major league players had bought performance-enhancing drugs from operator Anthony Bosch. Chief among those players was New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Subsequent reports by ESPN and Yahoo Sports revealed that Braun's name also was listed multiple times in Biogenesis logs with money owed to Bosch. One ledger had "20-30 K" listed next to Braun's name, indicating he owed Bosch $20,000 to $30,000 without specifying for what.
Braun quickly responded with a statement saying his attorneys owed Bosch money because he served as a consultant when they were preparing the defense for the appeal of his October 2011 positive drug test.
"During the course of preparing for my successful appeal last year, my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant," said Braun. "More specifically, he answered questions about T/E ratio (testosterone to epitesosterone) and possibilities of tampering with samples.
"There was a dispute over compensation for Bosch's work, which is why my lawyer and I are listed under 'money's owed' and not on any other list. I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch. I will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter."
Obviously, the MLB investigation into Biogenesis showed that Bosch was used by Braun as more than just a consultant.
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