NEW YORK – Ryan Braun referred only in passing to his positive drug test and possible 50-game suspension as he accepted the National League MVP award at a black-tie dinner Saturday night.
After congratulating other award winners and thanking teammates, family, and the Milwaukee organization, the Brewers left fielder, speaking before a crowd of around 800 in a hotel ballroom, thanked the Major League Baseball Players Association for supporting him through his entire career, "especially for supporting me through everything I've went through over the last couple of months."
ESPN.com first reported in December that Braun had tested positive in October. Braun's grievance appeal before arbitrator Shyam Das to avoid a suspension began Thursday.
"You know, sometimes in life, we all deal with challenges we never expected to endure," Braun told the crowd. "We have an opportunity to look at those challenges and view them either as obstacles or as opportunities, and I've chosen to view every challenge I've ever faced as an opportunity and this will be no different. I have always believed that a person's character is revealed through the way they deal with those moments of adversity."
Braun, the NL Rookie of the Year in 2007, hit .312 with 33 home runs and 111 RBIs last season in leading Milwaukee to the NL Central title. He was not available to take questions from reporters Saturday night, his first public appearance since news broke about the positive test.
Braun's appearance overshadowed a sometimes funny, sometimes poignant 89th dinner of the BBWAA's New York chapter that honored, among others, former Mets catcher Gary Carter, who is fighting brain cancer. The Hall of Fame slugger was represented by his three children.
Carter received the "You Gotta Have Heart" award. Fighting tears, his pregnant daughter, Chrissy, said: "I'll tell my dad about the standing O — he'll like that."
Also honored was Yankees head athletic trainer Gene Monahan, who retired at the end of last season after 49 years with the organization.
Monahan, the night's final award recipient, was honored for long and meritorious service to baseball. He was introduced, appropriately, by Yankees closer Mariano Rivera — who had earlier received the "Toast of the Town" award. In an emotional speech, Monahan acknowledged late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner on several occasions and concluded by saying, "To do what you do the best and love the most, that's what happiness is all about."
Don Newcombe, 85, elicited laughter as he introduced Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who joined the former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher as the only players to win a Cy Young Award, MVP trophy and Rookie of the Year.
On a Mets-themed evening that acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the team's first season, Frank Thomas, Jay Hook and Al Jackson spoke on behalf of the 1962 Mets, remembered for their 40-120 record.
Former Mets player and manager Bobby Valentine was lightly and briefly booed when introduced as Boston's new manager. Valentine joked about traveling from the Boston chapter's Thursday dinner before introducing Yankees reliever David Robertson, who received an award for community service.
Former Mets and new Miami shortstop Jose Reyes accepted the writers' "Good Guy" award, and outfielder Tommy Davis received the "You Could Look It Up" award, honoring the 50th anniversary of his 153-RBI season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Stu Sternberg, principal owner of the Tampa Bay Rays, accepted Manager of the Year and AL Rookie of the Year on behalf of Joe Maddon and Jeremy Hellickson, respectively. Maddon, who spoke by video, is on vacation with his wife in the Greek islands, a trip planned in early September, before the Rays made their big comeback to reach the AL playoffs.
Cardinals third baseman David Freese was in attendance to accept the Babe Ruth award as postseason MVP.