The End of an Era: Say It Ain't So, David Ortiz!

Michael SholtyContributor IJuly 30, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JULY 11:  American League All-Star David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox takes part in the 2006 MLB All-Star red carpet arrivals outside of PNC Park on July 11, 2006 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jason Giambi. Roger Clemens. Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield.

Those all were juicers named in the 2003 Mitchell Report. When some of the names from the report became public, we were shocked.

But no other name will shock fans like this one though: Big Papi.

We all ignored the signs pointing to the possibility that Ortiz could be a juicer. In 1998, Ortiz hit nine home runs in 278 at-bats. But after that year, not including 1999 when he only played 10 games, we saw a steady increase in his power numbers. In 2006, his home run total peaked at 54.

There were guys taking steroids all over the league, but Big Papi was different. Big Papi was a hometown hero, a naturally gifted player, and the kind of player everyone wanted to be like. 

In the past two years, we've seen the decline of Ortiz. He fractured his wrist last year and didn't come back 100 percent healthy. He only slugged out 23 homers last year, which pales in comparison to his career bests.

This year took the cake for declines, though.

We watched Ortiz struggle like a fish out of water for two months. Not only could the face of Boston's franchise not hit a homer, but he couldnt even hit the ball like Big Papi.

The BoSox stuck with him through thick and thin, and he finally started hitting again, but things still didn't feel the same.

And then today, we turn on the news and hear that Papi was indeed one of the many juicers that tested positive for steroids in 2003.

It pains me to say it, but baseball lost its shining beacon of hope.

One of the best feel-good stories in the majors was just a hack. A cheat. A fraud. Those home runs mean nothing to me now, because I know he didn't earn them legitimately.

Today, David did not slay Goliath. Goliath beat David, and David is out for the count.

If we can't believe in Big Papi to be true blue, what can we believe in anymore?