We have a certified genesis story for Jake Arrieta‘s rise to superstardom. Orioles closer Zach Britton elucidated on that, as mentioned on Monday, saying, “[The Orioles] took away the individual approach to everything.” Jake Arrieta, once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, had a cut fastball, but the O’s forbade him from throwing it. It wasn’t until Arrieta joined the Cubs in a trade that he began throwing the cutter again. The rest, as they say, is history.
Still, there have been many whispers from fans and players alike that Arrieta owes his success to performance-enhancing drugs. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY spoke to Arrieta about those rumors, and Arrieta responded as well as one could have hoped.
“I’ve heard players, and I’m talking about some of the best players in the league,’’ Arrieta told USA TODAY Sports, “question whether I’ve taken steroids or not. Some of the things I hear are pretty funny, and some people are idiots, frankly.
“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. 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.’’
He laughs at the cynicism and innuendo, without displaying the slightest hint of anger.
“Hey, that’s one of the best compliments you can give a guy,’’ he says. “I appreciate the fact that you think I’m pretty good, but taking steroids, that’s pushing it.’’
It isn’t even as if Arrieta had been linked to PEDs through the Biogenesis scandal, or failed a test at the minor league level. Some people, for whatever reason, can’t accept that a guy who had a 5.46 ERA over parts of four seasons with the Orioles went on to author two no-hitters and win a Cy Young Award with the Cubs without the help of illegal substances.