Braun maintains innocence, accepts MVP

Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers warms up Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers warms up before Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Oct. 5, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Milwaukee leftfielder Ryan Braun maintained his innocence, refuting allegations that he took performance-enhancing substances when accepting his National League MVP at the Baseball Writers Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Saturday night.

"I always believed that a person's character is revealed in those moments of adversity," he said. "I have so much respect for the game of baseball. Everything I've done in my career has been done with that appreciation in mind."

Braun, who won the honors after hitting .332 with 33 home runs and 111 RBIs in the regular season, also thanked the Players Association for "supporting me, especially after everything I've been through the last couple of months."

Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in December. He's appealing the results this month but if Major League Baseball deems that he was on steroids, he could face a 50-game suspension. It was the 89th annual awards dinner, meant to honor the biggest names in baseball.

"Sometimes in life, we all deal with challenges we never expected," he said. "We have an opportunity to look at those challenges as obstacles or opportunities and I've chosen to see every challenge as an opportunity. This will be no different."

Braun helped cap an eventful awards ceremony, whose emotional highlight came midway through, when Gary Carter's three children accepted an award on his behalf.

In an emotional speech, the trio expressed their father's love for the city and fans who helped put him on the map. Carter, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, has developed new tumors in his brain, his daughter, Kimmy Carter Bloemers posted on her blog earlier this week.

Calling it a difficult eight-month journey, Bloemers succumbed to tears when seeing the support for her father, who was too weak to travel from Florida to accept the Arthur and Milton Richman "You Gotta Have Heart" award.

"I'll be telling my dad about that standing 'O,' " she said. "He'd like that very much."

Carter's son DJ read a prepared statement from his father, the iconic catcher who helped the Mets win the World Series in 1986. "I'll always have a great place in my heart for the people and city of New York," he said. "I have nothing but fond memories of my time here in New York.

"I still remember the feeling of riding on the World Series parade with over 1 million people lining the streets to celebrate our championship . . . I want to wish all of you the very best in the future and wish the Mets will win many more championships."

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