According to ESPNNewYork.com, Major League Baseball is looking into the allegations that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez took part in illegal, underground poker games.
“We’re talking to people involved in the investigation and we’re taking this very seriously,” said an MLB executive who spoke to ESPNNewYork.com on condition of anonymity. “Because he had been warned about this before, I would say a possible suspension would be very much in play.”
The allegations, first published by RadarOnline.com, are that the New York Yankees third baseman played in at least two of the games, one of which took place at the Beverly Hills mansion of a record executive at which “cocaine was openly used and a fight nearly broke out when one of the players refused to pay after losing “more than a half-million dollars.”
According to the story, details of which were reportedly provided by another player at the games, Rodriguez “tried to distance himself from the game,” once the violence broke out.
“He just shook his head, not knowing what the hell happened,” the whistle-blower revealed. “He didn’t want to deal with it at all. He was like, ‘OK, whatever. It’s your game.’ I would estimate A-Rod lost, like, a few thousand dollars that night. After everything that happened, he paid up and left.”
In 2005, Rodriguez had been warned about gambling in underground poker clubs by the Yankees and by baseball commissioner Bud Selig, both of whom were concerned that possible involvement with gamblers who might be betting on baseball games could result in a Pete Rose-type lifetime ban from baseball.
Let me get this straight, Major League Baseball turned a blind eye to steroid use for over a decade but a player participates in a poker game and the league is taking the situation “very seriously?” What, if the league can’t make money off the situation then it’s ready to jump into action? Come on.
Look, I don’t condone drug use and seeing as how A-Rod was warned by the Yankees and MLB not to participate in these games, he’s subject to punishment. But this situation seems rather hypocritical in my eyes. Players probably gamble all the time in the clubhouse or on road trips, but because A-Rod was gambling in someone’s house now it’s a problem? If the league is so worried about a Pete Rose effect, then why doesn’t it ban all forms of gambling? Go Big Brother on everyone. (And really, poker? They’re in a tizzy about a poker game? Get real.)
Again, Rodriguez had been warned so if he obeyed the people that sign his checks, then he should be punished. But it would be ridiculous if MLB made a huge deal out of this and suspended him for an inordinate amount of games. Besides, had the U.S. government not shut down all of the online poker sites a few months ago, A-Rod could have played in the comforts of his own home.