Alex Rodriguez: MLB Will Have to Send a Loud Message If It Suspends A-Rod
You know how we like to say that things are going to get worse before they get better? That would be a pretty good way to characterize the situation that New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has put himself in.
Earlier on Wednesday, word came out from RadarOnline.com and Star magazine that A-Rod had played in "an underground, illegal poker game where cocaine was openly used." One of the games also got violent, though Rodriguez himself was not involved.
Not the kind of personal secrets that one wants revealed, no doubt about that. And even worse for A-Rod, this is now a baseball issue.
According to ESPNNewYork.com, Major League Baseball is taking reports of A-Rod's poker excursions "very seriously," and he could be suspended if it is confirmed that he did indeed participate in the games he is alleged to have participated in.
The problem, it seems, is not so much that A-Rod played in these games, but that he continued to pursue high-stakes poker as a hobby even after the Yankees and MLB commissioner Bud Selig warned him back in 2005. Not surprisingly, Selig is pretty miffed that A-Rod ignored him.
"Bud's totally fed up with him," said one baseball insider. "It's like there's something new with him every day and it's impossible to keep up with it."
If MLB does decide to move forward with a suspension for A-Rod, the difficult part is going to be finding a precedent to work off of. Pete Rose-like gambling tendencies are obviously the lowest of the low, but A-Rod's saving grace in that regard will be that he did not bet on baseball.
Even still, A-Rod's gambling transgressions are not the kind of thing that MLB can punish with a mere slap on the wrist. If they really want to send a message that actions similar to A-Rod's simply aren't going to fly, a one-, two- or even five-game suspension is not going to cut it.
In other words, Major League Baseball is going to have to hit A-Rod hard. Very hard.
If you wanted to, you could argue that that's not a fair stance to take. After all, it would be pretty naive to think that A-Rod is the only gambler that baseball has in its ranks.
Maybe so. And true, it's also possible that the allegations against A-Rod are complete fabrications.
But that's exactly what MLB is going to find out, and the league is going to stop at nothing to uncover the truth.
"I could see us trying to pursue this a lot further," said one baseball executive. "The truth is still out there somewhere."
As is usually the case, the deeper one digs, the dirtier things get. While the reports of A-Rod's poker dealings are bad enough, it's possible that things are even worse. For example, instead of merely being in the presence of cocaine, what if he actually ingested some? Instead of backing away from a fight, as the reports claim he did, what if he went headlong into one?
At that point, bad enough would get considerably worse, and so too would the suspension MLB had in mind for Rodriguez.
I'll say it again: this is going to get worse before it gets better. Stay tuned.
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