Now, on the eve of the release of George Mitchell's report, Curt Schilling said he realizes the significance of the moment for the sport and its future.
"The hope, I think, for most people is that there will be some closure sometime soon and we move on," Schilling said. "I would imagine there will be a lot of shock, a lot of surprise, but I think as a sport, as an industry we're hopefully going to be held accountable for what's happened, from players to coaches to front office to ownership."
Schilling spoke Wednesday night at Boston's Millennium Hotel where he was supporting his wife Shonda at a skin cancer awareness fundraising event.
"There was a period of time when people turned a blind eye to it and now we're being called on the carpet for it and I guess that's what's supposed to happen," he said of baseball's investigation into alleged steroids and HGH use by its players.
The Red Sox ace said he is trying to be philosophical and keep an open mind about the potential names that could be released.
"I'm sure there will be some very disappointing revelations from a player's standpoint, to fans and players alike," Schilling said. "If this is what has to happen for us to move on, for the game to move on, for fans to buy back into the product, then that's what has to happen."
Schilling said if any past or current teammates are named, that won't change his feelings toward them.
"I don't think there'll be any difference," Schilling said. "I think that as players, short of someone telling you, 'I've made some comments very early on in my career about my opinions, but for the most part that's no more or less than anyone's idea.' You had opinions, you had thoughts. [Thursday], I would imagine we'll see some concrete evidence and a list of names that will validate what I think a lot of people thought in some cases and people will be stunned in others, but you deal with that on a personal basis."
Players, especially teammates, are like family, according to the right-hander.
"There have been a couple of names to come out of this that have really caught me off guard to the point where I'm not surprised anymore," he said. "I certainly want to believe we've heard all the names. I know that's not true. There's hope on my end that there aren't any names of people I'm close with and friends with, but if there are, that's not going to change how I feel about people. It's a mistake that a lot of people have made and I certainly don't change my friendships based on people making mistakes."
Schilling said he expects fans to deal with the issue on a more emotional level.
"Fans in Boston are probably going to vilify if someone in New York gets named, whereas, there might be leniency on the home team. It's almost like a member of your family. You don't stop loving someone in your family that gets in trouble. You're disappointed for sure, but you move on."
To Schilling, Thursday could be one of the more important days in baseball's near-future.
"It depends on how baseball addresses it," he said. "There is a policy in place now. I don't know how players' names are going to be handled. If they're going to be found as failing, I'm not sure know how it's going to be addressed. I think a lot of how the players and the game handles it will determine how people look on the sport."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.