You may have seen an article this morning, published by Star magazine and RadarOnline.com, about Alex Rodriguez and his alleged participation in "an underground, illegal poker game where cocaine was openly used." (The report also said that A-Rod "even organized his own high-stakes game, which ended with thugs threatening players.") Well, we know for sure that Major League Baseball officials have seen it, because a league executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity to ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews, says that the league is looking into the report, and that Rodriguez could be suspended if his participation is confirmed.
A-Rod, you see, has been warned about this kind of thing before: In 2005, Bud Selig said that he was "very unhappy" with A-Rod's poker-club visits, and warned him about gambling in underground clubs. And those warnings could come into play here. From ESPN New York:
"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."
Here, in case you missed today's Star report, are some details of the game in question, as shared by poker pro Dan Bilzerian:
With tempers at the table flaring, A-Rod tried to distance himself from the game, another insider told Star. "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."
Last month, the league investigated when another Star report said that Rodriguez had been involved in "an illegal high stakes Hollywood poker ring that featured numerous A-list celebrities." (Through a spokesperson, Rodriguez denied that he participated in such games.) It's here we'll remind you that it's always a good idea to take celebrity-gossip reports with a few grains of salt, but baseball is apparently taking this seriously. (Selig today ordered Rodriguez to meet with investigators.) According to the executive that spoke to Matthews, the league has yet to determine whether A-Rod did indeed play in the games as reported by Star. But it looks like if they do positively determine it, there could be real consequences.