Jake Arrieta has emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball, so naturally people are now throwing around the term "performance-enhancing drugs."
The Cubs ace laughed off those insinuations Tuesday in both a USATODAY article and then in meeting with Chicago reporters for nearly 15 minutes before the Cubs went out and beat the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field.
Apparently that laughing irked ESPN talking heads Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless because they went after Arrieta Wednesday.
Smith essentially just listed Arrieta's Baseball Reference page for much of the segment while talking about the right-hander's jump in innings pitched (and how deep he's going into games) and win total, citing how Arrieta's career high in wins in a season was 10 prior to notching 22 victories in his Cy Young 2015 season.
How exactly is a huge jump in wins an indication in any way of PED use? Wins are a team stat and the 2015 Cubs won 97 games.
"I'm not gonna accuse you of using performance-enhancing supplements, drugs, whatever you want to call it," Smith said. "But I will say that 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."
Smith then essentially said the same thing on Twitter while linking to the video, drawing Arrieta's attention:
Jake Arrieta shouldn't be laughing about questions surrounding his performance. https://t.co/bieg2MeTni— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) April 27, 2016
Laughing is exactly what I will do. You continue to do your thing though. No one will undercut my hard work. @stephenasmith— Jake Arrieta (@JArrieta34) April 27, 2016
Smith then backed down a bit in response:
I hear ya @JArrieta34. It's your life/career. You've earned the right to do what you want. The best to you.— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) April 27, 2016
Think it's safe to say we'll award the point to Arrieta in this round.