After Attending Illegal Poker Games, ARod Likely to NOT Be Suspended

Up is down and down is up. After baseball fans learned earlier this week that New York Yankee megastar Alex Rodríguez had attended illegal high-stake poker games and that Major League Baseball was investigating ARod, Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that Rodríguez would not be suspended for his actions.

As SI.com’s Jon Heyman wrote:

Unless there is something more to this story — and MLB will indeed investigate — Rodriguez will not be suspended, people with knowledge of the situation say. He will only be warned and re-educated about how to stay out of bad situations.

Heyman concludes his piece with questions about the whole situation:

But when his name attracted the attention of sportswriters, Rodriguez publicist Richard Rubenstein told Newsday that A-Rod wasn’t at any of the card games. This seemed like a long shot, as Rodriguez loves to play cards (the Yankees warned him to stay away from New York poker clubs after he was seen at one in 2005). Then predictably, more confirmation came that he was indeed playing cards, which is no surprise since Rodriguez does play poker.

The new story by the publicist is that there are “factual inaccuracies” in the poker story. It appears that one inaccuracy is that Rodriguez didn’t participate in a poker game in a Miami hotel in November 2009. The publicist didn’t catalog what the “factual inaccuracies” were. The publicist also didn’t address his own factual inaccuracy claiming that A-Rod didn’t play in any of the games.

MLB is within its rights to tell one of its biggest stars to stay out of bad spots, but it’s doubtful that they can keep Rodriguez away from poker games. Rodriguez already is reportedly trying to line up games for this winter in Los Angeles. He has told people that he wants to play and that he’s going to be in L.A. because that’s where his girlfriend, actress Cameron Diaz, is.

It’s hard to imagine that baseball can make a big deal out of private poker games. And it’s hard to believe that it could dissuade Rodriguez from playing in these games. But it can try to warn him about the company he keeps.

It is clear to us that the MLB double standard once again applies when it comes to protecting a major MEGASUPERSTAR. So the whole morals clause in MLB no longer applies. Here’s a thought: get rid of it, and free Pete Rose! (and Shoeless Joe!)

In the meantime, we side with @lobstaman when it comes to ARod:

Dear Bud Selig, if MLB Does Not Ban or Suspend ARod, then You Really Are a Bunch of Hypocrites

This Alex Rodríguez story is just getting started. And Major League Baseball is still saying silent. For now.

While Pete Rose, the league’s all-time hits leader, stays on the sidelines with a lifetime ban for gambling, the superstar Yankee third baseman — one of the richest players in baseball history — has still not been disciplined for allegedly participating in illegal high-stakes poker games where according the reports, cocaine was used.

Now, we are NOT saying that gambling is bad (or cocaine for that matter), but it is clear that ARod is in a bit of trouble and has some (insert Ricky Ricardo accent) ‘splaining to do.

Here is what we know (taken from several reports):

  • MLB had already warned ARod in 2005 that they spotted him at underground New York City poker clubs. So basically, even after a warning, ARod is still going to the poker games.
  • Rodríguez supposedly organized his own high-stake games.
  • Cocaine was seen in a few of the games.
  • One game ended in some violent incident.
So, what is MLB doing? Here is what they said:

“We take this very seriously and have been investigating this matter since the initial allegation. As part of the investigation, the commissioner’s office will interview Mr. Rodriguez.”

We are fairly certain that more will come out of this, but we will say this: if MLB banned Pete Rose for betting on baseball games (an illegal activity), what will ARod get? Maybe not a lifetime suspension, but shouldn’t MLB’s “morals cause” allow MLB Commissioner Bud Selig the flexibility to at least suspend him? We aren’t taking about LEGAL GAMBLING here (which by the way would be fairly accessible for ARod and his millions). This is all about baseball’s consistent tradition in banning and suspending players who have actively engaged with bookies, criminals, drug dealers, and other unsavory characters.

If MLB does nothing to ARod (and there is always that possibility in the age of the mega untouchable superstar), then we urge Rose, family members of the 1919 Black Sox, and other suspended players to demand their being reinstated into the game.

Your move, Commissioner.