Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta fired a little chin music at ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith over the way in which Smith used his name in a sentence with “performance-enhancing drugs” without actually, you know, accusing him.
Arrieta, last year’s National League Cy Young winner, has heard comments about at how, at 30, he has become a dominant pitcher. Smith was just the latest, saying on “First Take” that he wasn’t accusing Arrieta, “but I will say you shouldn’t just be laughing at those who are looking at you and saying, ‘Excuse me. What the hell is going on here?’ Because it’s not like they haven’t seen performance-enhancing drug users before.”
Yet, Arrieta responded on Twitter, “Laughing is exactly what I will do. You continue to do your thing, though. No one will undercut my hard work.”
Smith backed off, replying on Twitter: “I hear ya @JArrieta34. It’s your life/career. You’ve earned the right to do what you want. The best to you.”
Arrieta went on a torrid run during the second half of the 2015 season, going 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA in 107 1/3 innings over 15 starts. Suspicions were aroused and just as he did with Smith, Arrieta is refuting them.
“I’ll see on Twitter, ‘My close source revealed to me he’s on steroids.’ Well, the 10 tests I take a year say otherwise,” he told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “I eat plants. I eat lean meat. I work out. And I do things the right way.
“If there are guys still on it, I hope they get caught. I care about the integrity of the game. I wouldn’t want to disappoint my family, my friends, my fans. That’s a huge motivating factor in doing it the right way.
“There are so many people that are counting on you, and leaning on all of us in this clubhouse to do some special things for the city of Chicago. To jeopardize that by taking banned substances, would be a ridiculous mistake.”