MILWAUKEE -- After finishing second in National League MVP balloting on Thursday, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun said the Baseball Writers' Association of America got it right.
Braun, the 2011 winner, was a distant second this time. Giants catcher Buster Posey won the 2012 NL MVP Award by garnering 27 of the 32 first-place votes and finishing with 422 total points. Braun had three first-place votes and 285 points.
"To be honest with you, I didn't really think much about it at all. I didn't think that I was going to win," Braun said. "It's exciting to know that I was a finalist and that I had another season that put me in that MVP conversation. That's something I'm proud of. But aside from that, I didn't think about it at all.
"I think Buster Posey deserved to win. What he was able to accomplish this year as a catcher, with a team that went on to win the World Series was incredible. I thought he was the best player. I think he deserved to be the MVP."
Posey and Braun were finalists with the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen, the Cardinals' Yadier Molina and the Padres' Chase Headley, who finished in that order.
Braun's teammate, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, finished ninth with 47 points.
"I think I had a good season. I don't think that I had a great season," said Braun, who turns 29 on Saturday. "I don't think my season was far and away better than anybody else's to the point where I feel like I deserved an award that I didn't get."
Some have argued that Braun, who topped the Dodgers' Matt Kemp for 2011 NL MVP honors, was even better in 2012. Braun led the league in home runs (41), total bases (356), runs (108) and OPS (.987) while tying for the lead in extra-base hits (80). He also ranked among the leaders with 112 RBIs (second to Headley), 191 hits (second to McCutchen), a .595 slugging percentage (second to Miami's Giancarlo Stanton) and a .319 batting average (behind Posey and McCutchen).
Braun also tied for ninth in the league with 30 stolen bases, marking the 11th season in Major League history of at least 40 homers and 30 steals.
But the question in this awards season was how voting constituencies would weigh NL batting champion Posey's premium position (catcher) and the fact he played for a postseason-bound team against Braun, whose club needed a late surge to get into contention and who spent last offseason successfully fighting a suspension following a positive test for elevated testosterone.
Braun won his appeal in February just as he reported to Spring Training, and emphatically declared his innocence in a nationally televised news conference at Maryvale Baseball Park attended by many of his Brewers teammates. Then it was back to business as usual.
On Thursday, Braun deflected questions about whether he worried last winter's events impact this year's MVP balloting.
"I never think about those things," he said. "I'm not oblivious to what's going on or what's been said, but aside from that I don't spend any time thinking about those things. I really don't."
Notably, Braun appeared on all 32 ballots -- two from each NL city -- and appeared no lower than fourth on any of them.
He received first-place votes from Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and from Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago. Braun also received 15 second-place votes, 10 third-place votes and four fourth-place votes.
Braun tied the result in part to the fact the Brewers missed the postseason, even after a surprise late-season surge. That fact, in his view, discounted his individual accomplishments, including that Braun made the All-Star team for the fifth straight year, batted better than .300 for the fourth straight year and set a career high for homers.
BBWAA voters cast their awards ballots at the end of the regular season, before Posey's Giants made their run to a World Series title.
"The best players on teams that make it to the postseason deserve extra credit because that's what everybody's top priority is," Braun said. "That's what everybody works for all year. He should have been given credit for it. We gave it a good effort, but we fell short."
The same goes for the American League MVP Award, won by the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera over the Angels' Mike Trout in a much-debated race.
Again, Braun says the BBWAA got it right.
"I thought Miguel Cabrera deserved the award," Braun said. "I really did. I think historically, the guys that help their teams get to the postseason deserve extra credit. Cabrera was the best player down the stretch, had an incredibly strong finish to his season, helped his team get to the playoffs. He won the Triple Crown, which is unbelievable. Mike Trout obviously had a phenomenal year as well, but I thought Miguel Cabrera was deserving."
There was one topic Braun avoided entirely. His girlfriend, model Larisa Fraser, wrote on her blog last week that she and Braun were engaged.
"I don't comment on anything going on in my private life," Braun said with a chuckle, "but if that were to be true, I would be a very lucky man."