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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Poker Face: A-Rod Could Face Suspension for Card Game

I was just about to write about how I jinxed the Mets with my presence last night (more on that in a later Squawk) when I heard the big news that Alex Rodriguez could face suspension from Major League Baseball for being rumored to have played in high-stakes poker games.

First off, as was emphasized the last time A-Rod played in one of these poker games, it's not illegal to play in them. It is illegal to charge admission into the games, or to take a cut of the pot. In "Guys and Dolls" talk, good ol' reliable Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra in the movie) would be in trouble, not Sky Masterston (Marlon Brando in the film.) But I digress.

Also, as ESPN New York Wallace Matthews' interview with an MLB executive notes, while the league has two investigators working on the case, "MLB has yet to positively determine that Rodriguez took part in the games," but that same executive is talking to Matthews about suspension time , saying that "Because he had been warned about this before, I would say a possible suspension would be very much in play." Glad to know MLB is talking about punishment before finding out if he were actually involved in the crime! Who said due process was dead?

This same exec tells Matthews, "I could see us trying to pursue this a lot further. The truth is still out there somewhere." Good grief. Are they going to get Scully and Mulder on the case?

Someone else quoted in the article said:
"Bud's totally fed up with him," said a baseball insider. "It's like there's something new with him every day and it's impossible to keep up with it."
Actually, it's been very quiet on the A-Rod front in recent years, unless you consider being fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz in the Super Bowl the scandal of the century.

At any rate, whether or not Bud Selig is tired of A-Rod drama shouldn't matter. What is at issue is whether he broke the rules of baseball. And if playing poker for money is against MLB rules, then shouldn't that be enforced with events involving the team, like poker games in clubhouses and on team planes? Heck, I seem to remember Rickey Henderson and Bobby Bonilla playing poker when their New York Mets were losing a playoff game, yet there was no big investigation of them.

Anyhow, my friend Stacey Gotsulias had an excellent point in her "Spreadin' the News" blog. She noted that six players have been arrested this year for drunk driving, and none of them were suspended from baseball for their DUIs. As Stacey notes, "If MLB isn’t going to suspend people for being arrested, why are they going to suspend someone for not being arrested for something?" Excellent point!

Finally, would any of this be the subject of an MLB investigation if it weren't A-Rod? Of course not. Former Met Jeff Francoeur wrote a $50,000 check last year to then- Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels. Jeff said $35,000 of it was to repay a loan from Samuels (who made 80K a year) so Frenchy could buy his parents a car in cash without his parents knowing the cost.

As Craig Calceterra wrote in the article linked above, "No one ever suggested that Francoeur did anything wrong... but it did raise eyebrows."

But imagine if it had been A-Rod instead of Francoeur. Would "fed-up" Bud Selig have looked at it differently?

What do you think? Tell us about it!

4 comments:

nutballgazette said...

Maybe A-Rod will 'Retire' and play in the NBA D League.

Uncle Mike said...

It's gambling, Nutball. Not marijuana.

nutballgazette said...

There is talk of Cocaine being used during these games. A-Rod may not be doing anything wrong but he seems to put himself into situations where it looks like he may be.

Uncle Mike said...

If that's true, Nutball, then maybe A-Rod could use a few Gibbs Rules. Though "Never date a co-worker" might help him (sure, baseball teams have female employees), I would advise him against following "Never go anywhere without a knife!"