I admit to having some mixed emotions about the outing of Ortiz. My first reaction was one of immense sadness, in part for the illusion that perhaps the man most responsible for ending the 86-year championship drought was really clean, despite all the skepticism surrounding that idea, and in part for Ortiz himself, who is by all accounts a wonderful person who is now going to experience some of the worst few days of his life.
My second reaction, however, is a deep and resounding apathy.
This is going to sound convenient, coming as it does now, but my ambivalence on steroids and PEDs has really grown over the course of the last year.
I think a lot of it has to do with the outraged moralization from the sportswriters. It's so over the top that my natural reaction has been to push against it. A lot of it also has to do with the fact that PEDs have been used and abused in baseball since the early 1900s, leading me to believe that there really is no "PED Era," except insofar as the specific type of PEDs has changed over time. And this has provided me a measure of peace in the fact that this is how it has always been, and probably, to some extent, how it will always be. The records, the HOFers, the great players — they were still great, both in the context of their era and throughout history.
Would I have enjoyed David Ortiz beating the Yankees in 2004 any more if he had been clean (and maybe he was, for all we know)? No. I still cherish those memories, and I always will. Do I root against A-Rod any harder now because he's a steroid user? No. Others might answer "yes" to these questions, and they are likely a good deal sadder today than I.
Ultimately, this sport is something we use to entertain ourselves, divert our minds from the cares and worries of the world. Why do we insist on turning it into something else to worry about? I'm going to enjoy the game, and acknowledge that it's played by flawed humans who do not live up to our hopes and dreams for them.
If I were at Fenway Park today, I would stand and cheer when David Ortiz's name was announced for the first time. This revelation does not change who he is. It does not change what he did.